Oatmeal with William

Posted 11/29/23

Another birthday! It was a big one! Not about to publicize my age but will say my grandkids are getting mighty old.

On this momentous occasion I received congrats and love from my kids, had …

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Oatmeal with William


Another birthday! It was a big one! Not about to publicize my age but will say my grandkids are getting mighty old.

On this momentous occasion I received congrats and love from my kids, had a great dinner out, and ate ice cream and cake with no worry about calories.

Earlier in the day was busy as well – got a flu shot and a wart removed, had my cataracts checked, bought “look years younger in weeks” face cream, and upgraded to new hearing aids that have an app for my cellphone.

This app adjusts volume and locates the hearing aids if misplaced. And where is that phone anyway?

I admit to being a bit ornery about this aging thing. As a former personal trainer, young thinker, kid at heart, getting “old” has never been on the agenda. I lied about my age for a while, but when I inadvertently mentioned to a group of folks that my eldest son was beginning to make plans for his retirement, I lost credibility.

In truth, aging is a bloody challenge. I’m up for it, but sometimes find it a pain in the rump, literally today because my left sciatic nerve is aching.

Here’s where my annoyance kicks in. “You’re in great shape, most folks your age don’t do half the exercise you do, keep up the good work,” my young doctor advises. And I’m out there walking rain or shine, blustery or calm almost every day, but if I push my bod a tad too much it comes back to haunt me in the form of pain.

Now I wouldn’t mind sore joints and muscles if I saw a light at the end of the tunnel, like my exercise routine bringing my weight and cholesterol numbers down.

“Eat more fiber,” the doc says, and this carbo junkie buys a pricey blender that grinds fruit, veggies, and nuts to a pulp. Breakfasts of healthy, fibrous shakes look good on paper, but it isn’t long before the morning meal is followed by strong complaints from my sensitive tummy.

With the deafening grinding machine relegated to the garage sale pile, I got into oatmeal for breakfast. Let me tell you, oatmeal, no matter how many blueberries and banana slices, no matter how much honey and yogurt go into it, isn’t a New York bagel slathered with cream cheese.

Did I mention I’m from the Bronx?

Moving on from grumbling, one morning instead of standing over the sink to eat my yummy bowl of mush, I sat at the dining room table. This let me plop my screaming sciatic nerve on the heating pad while I ate.

About halfway through my meal our old cat, William, jumped onto the table. He moved to the bowl and licked the oatmeal-caked sides clean. Purring loudly, Will slurped a sticky tongue on my nose, washed himself, and curled into peaceful sleep; our loveable boy so appreciative of the smallest tidbit.

As a kitten, William had been thrown from a moving car (rooting for Karma for that cretinous driver). He survived and landed bruised and battered in our local animal shelter.

Once stable enough for adoption, my granddaughter brought him home and he became a favorite pet.

Despite a rough beginning, Will lived life well. He’d be in my face meowing at mealtime, batting my dropped earring under the stove, sharing my food, cuddling, and teaching me with unconditional love how to age with gratitude and joy, acceptance and kindness.

So, since I always grow some through my association with animals, in remembering sharing oatmeal with William I’ll continue to let the porridge thing grow on me.

Maybe my weight will come down and cholesterol numbers will improve. Maybe I’ll learn to look at aging as the gift I know it truly is and perhaps, in memory of a beautiful four-legged soul, I’ll be good at it one day.

Raising a Thanksgiving spoonful of almost tasty nutrition to you, sweet William.

Good spirits from this old girl!

Carole Marshall is a former columnist, feature writer for a national magazine, author of three books. Her writing focus today is on the often fun, often daunting concept of AGING IN GOOD SPIRITS. She is Mom, Grandma, Great-Grandma to some spectacular kiddos.