Age is nothing but a number
I remember turning 30 and thinking I was old. I look back at that age, laugh, and say to myself, “Silly girl. Thirty is nothing.”
Little did I know, my life was just getting started.
I have seen the other side of 100 recently, and it’s a pretty cool place to be. I haven’t personally experienced that milestone. Although I do have mysterious aches and pains from time to time that make me feel so.
A centenarian or two out there probably thinks that’s silly.
I had dinner the other night with a kind and funny gentleman who happens to share my birth date, April 20. Sure, there’s a difference of 61 years there. But as he said over our dinner in Glenwood Springs, “Age is nothing but a number.”
I think at 102, that goes without saying.
My 102-year-old birthday cohort is Julian Vogt. Most people around these parts know him as Julian the snowboarder — that is not a typo. Yes, he snowboards. And bikes. And he does body-strengthening exercises and swims at the Hot Springs Pool. He has more energy than some 20-somethings I know.
Best of all, he likes to dance.
Rarely do I find a man who enjoys boogying. Or going on dinner dates. So I was happy to find a nice email in my inbox during a difficult time. “Happy Birthday! Right? For years, I have been wanting to celebrate mine with yours, but I’m afraid of reporters, especially nice lady reporters,” he wrote. “So I hereby invite you (and husband or boyfriend; I don’t want to compete with him!) to celebrate our birthdays at a lunch, at the restaurant of your choice … I hope we can sing and laugh together (my singing is laughable!).
I’d be crazy to turn down that invitation.
I gladly accepted and warned Julian about my own laughable singing skills. Luckily it wasn’t karaoke night. Instead, Julian had an extra ticket to the Beatles tribute band show. The music was a lot of fun and we danced together to “Twist and Shout” at the end of the show.
What happens at a Glenwood Springs Community Concert Association concert stays at the Glenwood Springs Community Concert Association concert.
The birthday celebration didn’t stop there. I assumed since it was after 9 o’clock, Julian might want to go home and hit the hay. But this is no regular 102-year-old.
And a girl only turns 41 once.
He suggested dessert, so we rolled into the Riveria just as my friend Richie, who is the head chef, was about to call it a night. He suggested the white chocolate blueberry cake with cheesecake in the middle, handmade by his girlfriend, Emily.
I can’t remember enjoying birthday cake so much as I did that night.
I like to surround myself with fun people, no matter their age. Julian is one of them. He is witty and has the best laugh — it has a twinge of a yodeling mixed in there. He had me cracking up the entire night. And he had many wise words to share I’ll always remember.
“I like hanging around younger people,” he said. “Folks my age, they just want to talk about the past. Younger people are still talking about the future and what they want to do with their lives.”
Funny, considering I wonder that all the time.
Julian spoke of nature and how being outside with someone you love is one of the most romantic settings a couple can share. We found out we have many things in common, such as an admiration of tap dance and the opera. I learned that his father-in-law studied mining engineering at Purdue University, my alma mater.
Julian talked about the love of his life, his late wife Anne, whom he married in 1948. They met waiting in line for their French visas, and after talking for three hours he asked her for her number. They went dancing on their first date, and she took him to his first opera.
Julian is quite the Renaissance man.
He also has a sharp sense of humor that caught me off guard from the start. I think people at the restaurant noticed my continuous laughter and big smile. We may have even made a scene.
“Oh people have an eye on you right now,” Julian said, with a laugh, as we left the Pullman.
I bet they did.
I’ve met a lot of wonderful people in my years as a “nice lady reporter.” Few compare to my new friend Julian. We share not only an April 20 birthday, but also a zest for life. That’s because we know what all those people who think they’re old take for granted.
Age is nothing but a number.
— April E. Clark thanks all of her Glenwood and Carbondale friends for the kind words about her grandfather’s passing. They mean so much. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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