A young couple invited their elderly pastor for Sunday dinner. While they were in the kitchen preparing the meal, the minister asked their son what they were having. “Goat,” the little boy replied. “Goat?” replied the startled man of the cloth, “Are you sure about that?” “Yep,” said the youngster. “I heard Dad say to Mom, ‘Today is just as good as any to have the old goat for dinner.'”
“I’m the patriarch.”
I ran across this story recently and realized I’m now the “Old Goat.” It’s not that this ever happened to me, but the more I hang around, the more I know it to be true. Sometimes, I’m the old geezer. It’s not all that uncommon to look around and note that I’m the oldest guy in the room. This never really bothered me before, and it still doesn’t. It’s just different.
My Dad and Mom passed away several years ago. After they were gone, one of my sons got married, and we (my family and I) were all gathered together in one place. As I looked around, the revelation hit me. I was now the patriarch. I have to tell you, that was a weird feeling. Not only had I become the oldest, I was supposed to be the wisest as well. That’s a responsibility I grew into with age and experience (at least I hope I did).
I just saw a t-shirt that said, “I can’t adult today. Please don’t make me adult.” I smiled. I can relate, because there are days when I don’t want to adult (although I never knew the word “adult” could be used as a verb). Then I frowned because I don’t have a choice anymore.
I don’t think patriarchs are allowed to be anything other than adult. There’s something about the gray hair I suppose. Maybe it’s the wrinkles or possibly just the momentary losses of memory. At any rate, we patriarch types are definitely supposed to be the adults in the room.
I haven’t kicked any kids out of my yard yet.
That realization took place a few years ago, and I’ve pretty much gotten used to my new role. I kind of like it, but my bride says I’m getting ornery in my old age. Maybe my newfound responsibility is wearing on me. I’ve never pictured myself as the crotchety old man type, but I suppose it’s finally happened. I haven’t yelled at any kids to get out of my yard yet, but I’ve felt like it a couple of times.
The great thing about getting older is that it can be used as an excuse for a lot of things. If there’s something I don’t want to do, I can always say I’m too old.
My perspective has changed as well. For example: I used to get bent out of shape if my hair got messed up. Now I don’t even bother to comb it half the time. I’m just happy to have some left.
If you’re chuckling as you read this, just remember… This will happen to you too.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]