Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Completely Unscientific Study On the Aging Process

I noticed something on Tuesday. Something I hadn't noticed before, but was well aware of, and of all places to see it, we were at the Moody Blues concert at the Bank of America Pavilion in Boston.

First let me say that the venue was packed, but unlike the Fleetwood Mac concert we attended last winter, there was a higher percentage of folks in the fifty and up age range. At Fleetwood Mac, there were concert goers of all ages, and seemed to be fairly split down the middle. Half way below the fifty year mark, and the rest fifty and above.

Now, I wasn't looking the crowd over and comparing ages, although we both like to people watch a great deal. We just found our seats, then wandered about the venue for awhile, and then sat down and enjoyed the music. Our seats were dead center, about half way up, just behind the VIP section. The four seat VIP box directly in front of us was empty so the view was great.

About a few songs into the first hour of music, during one of the Moody Blues great rollicking songs, I noticed the crowd in front of us was mostly sitting down. Oh, there were a few standing with heir hands over their heads, clapping, and really getting into the music, I even noticed one lighter lit and waving in the air (sigh, ONE lighter), but the large majority of the crowd was just sitting, heads bobbin' in time to the music, and at the end of the song, those sitting, stood to give the band an ovation. It was if "Ralph and His Magic Accordion" had come to play at the home.

Now, you may not think this peculiar, and maybe it's not really peculiar, but rather just a sign. A sign that in one particular age group a lot of folks are getting so freakin' old that they can't stand, clap, or move more than their heads to music that used to move every part of their bodies along with the beat as if they had licked an electrical socket.

(sigh) I'm in that group, but I am not a "Bobble-head". I can still shake my groove thing. (If you shake your head really hard, it will remove the image.)

I noticed the men first of all. Most had far less hair than they once did, and if they had hair, it was cut like their grandfathers hair. This was appropriate since they wore their grandfathers clothes to the concert, too. There were some guys there still with their long hair, jeans, colored t-shirts, but only a few of them moved more than their heads as well. One may look the part, but the body and mind must agree on where you are chronologically to pull it off.

Most of their minds and bodies were still trying to decide.

The women, on the other hand, moved! Yes, even the ones that rode their Larks into the venue were shakin' it to the music. Many looked the part, their body and minds had long ago decided where they were chronologically, and their bodies were in "dance compliance" mode.

Men, well, most men, seem reluctant to relive "the moment". Age has a way of stifling what was once considered fun. Most of the males sat throughout the concert only standing up when their wives pulled them upright, or during a standing "O". Towards the end of the night, the music appeared to have chipped away the banker facade on most of the guys, and they were groovin'. Not as intensely as the girls, but everything is relative. Shifting back and forth from leg to leg may not be a Solid Gold Dancer routine, but it is light years away from being placed on life support while sitting in that chair.

One woman stood out, and I pointed her out to Mary. She was about four rows in front of us, directly in front of that unfilled VIP section. She wore a dark navy skirt with white sailboats, or some such design on it, and a white top. Her hair was cut to a few inches above her shoulders, and over her left shoulder was the strap to her white purse that hung down tightly against her side.

She appeared to be the very "Propah Bostonian".

Then the music started.

She stood up for every song, her arms in the air, hands floating in time to the music, rocking side to side on her little white summer shoes. The music had flipped a switch, and her body and mind responded. It was 1969 on the Isle of Wight all over again. She was not only reliving the moment, but living a new one. Age, and growing older, did not stilt her enthusiasm. She remembered how to have fun, and she was. The guy with her would occasionally stand beside her, but the only movement I could see was that his chest appeared to be rising and falling with his breathing.

So, there you have it, a completely unscientific study on how men and women respond to the aging process when exposed to the same stimulus. Men will think on it, put the possibility of it on their agenda, have a meeting on it, consider the gain/loss ratio, and then, if it is deemed harmless, they may attempt it for a bit, and then review the feeling later.

This is why women live longer than men. Girls just want to have fun. Guys, loosen up.

Judging from our night at the concert Mary is going to live to be about 130 years old, and I'll be right there groovin' beside her.

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