Another Perspective

The New Me

After 59 years, why not look south?

By 5.25.07

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I now make it official. I give notice to the body I have carried around for 59 years. You're fired, body. You have screwed up one too many times. That last gastro-intestinal bleed went over the limit -- not to speak of the bout of peritonitis in the hospital.

You are weak, vulnerable, and not up to the task. You need a new kidney. A new set of bones would help, too. You are wracked with pain. You have had to kick an addiction to narcotic pain relievers. You seem to have forgotten how to sleep.

You overdid your affection for beer, and now you can't drink anymore. Half the foods you used to love you can no longer eat.

What good are you? None at all, that's what. So you're fired. Goodbye. Don't let the door hit what's left of your butt on the way out.

I HEREWITH ANNOUNCE A NEW ME. I am going to be, first and foremost, a Southerner. I haven't exactly decided on my home state yet, probably one of the Carolinas.

But I sure know what it will look like. It'll be a ramshackle place on a lake, with a boat and swimming dock. We'll have a little runabout with an outboard for me and the boys to go fishing. There's a canoe, too, you'll notice, pulled up on the sand. The rule is, the boys can take the canoe by themselves as long as they wear their life jackets and carry their Mil-Spec waterproof cell phone.

Sally prefers to come home and swim laps back and forth out to the raft. The lake stays warm enough for swimming at least seven months a year. At least twice a week we broil fresh-caught bass for dinner, and in high summer, we pick our own sweet corn from the two rows we've planted in the slope of the back yard.

ONE OF MY NEIGHBORS BUILT AND RUNS A GOLF COURSE, a nice little nine-hole layout, which forms a kind of neighborhood club. Kids can learn to play there. Old people can enjoy it. And it's still challenging enough to offer real fun for good players.

Of course, I have to go to work sometimes, but I have the most wonderful job in the world. I'm a blimp pilot.

Yes, those beautiful aerial shots you see of football games, car races, golf tournaments, and the like? That's me.

So hello, y'all. Say hello to the new me. I didn't get much in trade for the old one. But the new one sure is a pip. It's a dream.

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About the Author

Lawrence Henry writes every week from North Andover, Massachusetts.