Greetings From Old People Camp

Considering fitness

Special to The TribuneMarch 21, 2014 

Suzanne Davis

I just had another birthday, dammit, and with my seventh decade not too far down the trail, I’ve been contemplating a few things I might like to do before I get too stiff to get off the couch.

I know, I know, I saw the Facebook post of the 86-year-old woman doing gymnastics and looking fabulous, but I occupy the real world of the moderately motivated. And before you gym rats fire off the emails, I do know the value of physical fitness, and I’m strongly considering it.

Speaking of which, my husband, Mick, and I were in Bend, Ore., recently for a short visit with my brother. The bro thought as long as we were in the neighborhood, it would be fun to do a little skiing on Mt. Bachelor. He is my older sibling, a regular paying customer on the mountain and, by the way, over the age of 70.

I didn’t lie when I said it sounded wonderful, but I admit I had a vision of my 30-year-old self in my head, and of course, I didn’t want to seem like a wimp. My brother led me through our childhood: Selling me on the idea that I should take the part of the Axis powers in our rotten orange wars; don boxing gloves and play Jersey Joe Walcott to his Rocky Marciano; and stand just a tad too close as he swung and hit a grounder to left field. OK, the last one was my own fault, but still, I was nervous about skis.

Mick the rock star had an excuse for opting out — he had to preserve his performance knees. You may recall he’s a member of a geezer band, and to an aging front man, a skiing accident would be tantamount to a surgeon lopping off a couple of fingers.

It takes a huge amount of energy and personal commitment to sell, “I Feeeeel Good! Dah-da-dahda-dah-da-dunt,” every week to a crowd of energetic Boomers. I, on the other hand, had no such professional excuse for avoiding the moguls. Hence, I was secretly relieved when it snowed four days straight, because my brother at least has the decency to be a fair-weather skier. However, I confess to mixed feelings. I hate to sound maudlin, but realistically how many more winters do I have left to shell out a hundred bucks to shoosh the slopes?

With July on the horizon, perhaps I’ll make a fiscal new year’s resolution to get more fit. To that end, I was thrilled when my insurance agent recently informed me that my Medicare supplemental includes a Silver Streakers membership at a local gym. I got pretty excited thinking about making new athletic friends, running naked between weight machines, dashing through the senior center and romping around the community garden. Sadly, it turns out the program is a lot more boring than I thought, as it’s actually called Silver Sneakers and it involves clothes, a treadmill and lifting a bunch of heavy stuff.

The good news is that July is still a few months away, and my grand dog came for a sleepover. Before they left, my daughter-in-law gave verbal instructions, and my son demonstrated the proper way to brush Anabel’s teeth with poultry flavored toothpaste. I’ve yet to brush the poor dog’s teeth, but I am going to stretch the truth when her parents return and tell them that I misplaced the paste. Next time we make the trip to Bend, I plan to slip the tube into my brother’s medicine cabinet and nestle it next to his Oral B. Call it septuagenarian quid pro quo.

Not to worry, things are looking up on the fitness front. I received a new pair of hiking boots for my birthday. I’ll take them along on the next summer trip north and suggest to my bro that we ride the lift up the mountain and hike back down. If you’re in the area, I’ll be the old lady with the new boots, and he’ll be the really fit guy with the fowl breath. Dahda-dah-da-dah-da-dunt!

SuzanneDavis is happily retired and living in the South County with her husband and their three dogs. Email her at

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