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I feel old

Saturday was not a good day for me.

It was raining. And I had to be out of bed for the 9 a.m. start of the Heart Walk.

(For those of you just joining us: Mornings are not - and never will be - my thing.)

But that wasn't the worst part of it. Saturday, Feb. 25, will go down as the day I accepted the inevitable: I'm getting old.

The realization began with an innocent conversation I overheard.

"You hadn't heard of Mario?" one youth asked.

The second child shook his head.

"He's like the oldest video game in the world."


And here I was thinking of Pong.

Not only am I getting old, but my body doesn't like me very much.

Saturday was day four of a horrid backache for me: I was cringing with nearly every breath. And it only got worse as the day progressed.

The worst part was hobbling around town with my father - both of us gingerly walking down stairs and having to use handrails to steady ourselves. (Bob Keith topped it off on Sunday when he stopped by the house and hollered at my dad. Only it wasn't my dad. It was me. And Bob was only 30 yards away.)

ADMITTEDLY, SATURDAY WASN'T all bad. It was great to run into Roger Fortier Saturday morning out at Culpepper Ford. I know Roger from my former life covering Columbia County. He ran for the county commission as a democrat - a rarity in the conservative county - and he lost. In the process, I came to appreciate his point of view and his passion for the job at hand: He never gave up, nor did he stoop to mudslinging in his campaign.

Now a salesman at Culpepper, Roger said he's been making his way through the phone book - taking time just to make sure folks know Culpepper's in Thomson. And he's already asking about ways to get more involved in the community.

I knew democrats had their redeeming qualities.

THE REASON I was at Culpepper on a damp Saturday morning was the 2006 Upper River District Pinewood Derby. It's been 20 years or so since my father and I whittled a car out of a block of wood, added a little weight and a lot of graphite powder, only to get torched in my first race.

I was amazed at the evolution of pinewood derby cars. Some scouts had actual cars - like an antique racer and a General Lee. Others created monsters of wood and paint.

And the paint jobs. One car featured a lightning motif that looked like a professional had airbrushed it.

Nope, the kid assured me.

He even explained how he did it.

I was lost at "Nope."

Web posted on Thursday, March 2, 2006

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