Now that my gimpy knee is well on its way to recovery, it’s time to start thinking about a long-term prevention strategy. I never want a repeat of the last two months.
I shouldn’t complain too much. Birthday Number 63 is only a couple of months away, and I count myself lucky that I only have to contend with a sprained knee. There are more than a few people I know who have to deal with chronic pain as a regular part of life.
Eventually I will become a gym rat again. I haven’t been one of those in 20 years, but now is the time to break out the cross-trainers and ratty T-shirts again. “Move it or lose it” is a real thing.
In the meantime, there is nothing like a good walk to loosen up those creaky joints, discard a few pounds of middle-age prosperity and enjoy the fresh air. The walks are short by necessity, because my knee still swells up like a balloon animal if overworked, but even a little movement is better than none.
While I do my self-administered conditioning exercise regimen, I think about all the territory we covered on foot back when I was a skinny high school girl. Even after we all had our drivers’ licenses, we still hoofed it a lot.
One of our more heroic efforts was walking to the top of Beautiful Lookout from South Bethlehem. I would like to think that reenacting that walk is a personal goal in the coming year, but it won’t be. It’s not a matter of inability but a matter of avoiding becoming road kill.
This is why I admired the brazen derring-do of Rollie Miller one day when I was driving down that hill a year or so ago. There he was, striding up a 12-percent incline as if he were a teenager.
He shamed me that day. I’m a few years younger than he is and I would have been lying in the ditch within a hundred yards.
And then there’s Larry “Lum” Adams, who you will see trotting nearly anywhere inside the New Bethlehem Borough limits. Granted, the Adamses live up on Dog Hill. Whatever walks down must walk back up, so the residents up there are nigh unto rugged mountaineers on a daily basis.
Now, one of my best friends in high school lived on Washington Street, Luann (Crissman) Reitz, and walking to her house was just a matter of routine before the age of 16. Even after we both had our licenses, we were prone to legging it back and forth to our houses.
When Luann began dating Rich Reitz in Cottage Hill, we started collecting a gaggle of somewhat younger kids for the march to the Reitz farm. That was a little long, but it wasn’t too bad if we allowed ourselves enough time to get home before dark, or curfew.
Talk to anyone who was a kid in the ‘60s and ‘70s and you will always hear tales of the bank clock. While it was always in a state of perfect repair, it sometimes ran about five minutes slow in the evenings.
Over here in South Bethlehem, we didn’t have that luxury. Randall Stahlman, under the direction of his dad, the mayor and police chief, rang the curfew bell in the old school at 9:30.
You could not fail to hear it, so if you were a few minutes late getting in the door and were confronted by a grumpy dad, all you could do was ponder innocently, “Oh, is it that time already?”
Acting spacey and unaware is a good cover when you’re a teenager.
Life for young people was quite a bit safer back in the ‘70s compared to today. You could let your kids walk around like that with little fear that some predator would whisk them away or simply harm them on the spot.
I won’t indulge in scaremongering or complaining about the state of society these days. That is for “old people” whose ranks I will join some day, but not before it is time. Rather, I want to regain a large portion of that physical fitness that was part of daily life 40-some years ago.
There is nothing more awesome than a so-called senior citizen who is in fantastic shape. There is nothing more pitiable than a woman of a certain age who is in pear shape.
That be me these days, and I don’t like it one bit. Do me a favor. If you seeing me walking somewhere, don’t offer me a ride or a slice of cake, but pizza is acceptable sometimes.
A large part of my personal pearishness came from grieving for the loss of how things used to be. This doesn’t accomplish anything and robs a person of the joy of life.
With all the medical advances in the past few decades, most of us have a good shot at reaching the age of 90 or 100. Which means that I might have another 30 years, a third of my life, ahead of me. I’d rather spend them looking ahead rather than back.
Besides, continuing good health means that I’ll be around that much longer to inflict my words of wisdom on you via this column.
Well, okay. I will have that piece of cake, but only if you want to help me walk off the calories later.