The Last Windrow: Reflecting on age as another birthday approaches

My grandpa and parents never seemed "old" to me, and I don't seem "old" to me either

Photo illustration /
We are part of The Trust Project.

Some folks used to call me "Red." No doubt that nickname came to me because of the thick shock of red hair I wore across my head as a younger person.

They don't call me "Red" anymore. Now when I take a seat in the barber chair, all I see are white locks hitting the floor. A virtual snow blizzard falls from under the barber's clippers.

What happened between "Red" and white? Years, that's what.

Read more of 'The Last Windrow'
Members Only
And it was a lot of work to get those eggs
Members Only
Columnist John Wetrosky shares a tale about this wild creature
Members Only
John Wetrosky gives his thoughts on some of the technology of today
Members Only
An experience with a college journalism professor.
Members Only
You'll save a lot of money and the lyrics really do work
Members Only
As he does each year, columnist John Wetrosky shares the poem he wrote years ago for his 5-year-old daughter
Members Only
Pine River's John Wetrosky shares a Christmas story from his youth

As I approach another birthday this week, I got to thinking of the changes I've seen in my time here on earth. I think anyone my age does that.

We in our mid-70s have developed a sort of acceptance of where we are, and if we take the time to think about it, we do have history.


I know that sitting quietly in my deer stand gives me time to think about how I arrived at the age I have. Many of my friends from long ago have not gotten this far. I guess I'm thankful that I have.

I think about my granddad. I was the oldest of our brood and I got to spend a lot of time with him when he was living in our farmhouse. We played checkers and card games and I was able to visit with him about his growing up years.

He had only a third grade education but he could figure in his head how much he would receive for a hog that weighed 230 pounds at a price of $9.27 a hundred weight.

Even after graduating from high school, I couldn't do that.

He also wrote a journal keeping track of the prices paid for livestock and grain on the farm. He read hundreds of Zane Grey western books and could talk politics with the best of them.

Those were years I remember well. He never seemed "old" to me.

I also think about my dad. He attained an eighth grade education but could do all the mathematical exercises that his dad could do plus more.

He hand built farm wagons, he built farm buildings and he did mechanical work that he had no real training for other than learning from others. He wrote a great letter in script and he was a great follower of politics. I enjoyed many intense discussions with him about world affairs.


He never seemed "old" to me.

Thinking back, I remember my mother's ability to tackle anything either in the house or out on the fields. She had a high school degree and I never saw a task that she started that she couldn't finish.

She must have sewn a thousand pairs of overalls, she cooked enough meals to have fed an army and she had social skills that were passed on to her clutch of six kids. My siblings and I all share those skills with our families today.

She never seemed "old" to me.

So as another birthday comes and goes, I think about that kind of stuff and how lucky I was to have had the history that I've had. Even though I have a couple of artificial pieces of metal in me that keep me ticking, I have not a complaint.

Except for the fact that no one calls me "Red" anymore and I don't have enough hair on top of my head to repeat the double parted hairstyle I had in my high school graduation picture, I've had a good run.

I've got history. I don't seem "old" to me. Bring on the candles!

See you next time. Okay?


John Wetrosky
John Wetrosky (2022)

Opinion by John Wetrosky
What To Read Next
"Life is short, ends in a moment, and we don’t think much about it some days. ... It’s a scenic highway, and we should keep it that way, go a bit slower, and enjoy life."
With its soft and gooey center surrounded by a crisp exterior, kladdkaka is the perfect cross between a brownie and a molten lava cake.
Anticipating a fun time can be almost as nice as the actual event
Both sides will try to make the other side look worse but it appears there is plenty of stink everywhere.