People gather in Ninilchik, Alaska, on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, for Salmonfest, an annual event that raises awareness about salmon-related causes. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

People gather in Ninilchik, Alaska, on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, for Salmonfest, an annual event that raises awareness about salmon-related causes. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Unhinged Alaska: Bones

Just as we approached Ninilchik, we remembered that the Salmonfest would be in high gear

Them bones, them bones, them aching bones.

We had a bit of an adventure last week when we motored up to Soldotna for a short hospital stay for my bride.

The trip commenced on an interesting note because, just as we approached Ninilchik, we remembered that the Salmonfest would be in high gear.

From what we noted as we passed through, “high” was the operative word.

There were a couple of dudes sitting on top of a truck claiming they could see Denali from the roof while their bud was leaning against the bumper singing to what appeared to be a rock.

So many vehicles were spread throughout the area that it will probably take the burg a few months to rise back from the 6 inches it sank.

The mishmash of rigs roaming around gave off the vibes of a miniaturized L.A. traffic jam and the crowd was having one hell of a good time pounding pizza and mega snacks while rockin’ to the tunes.

I remember days like that. Even now, as I reside in the gray realm between 420 and 560 dog years old, I can still dance up a storm when I’m trying to keep my balance putting my pants on in the morning.

Nowadays, if I were to be compared to modern baseline computer capabilities, I’d rank right up there with a used Etch-a-Sketch. Give me another few years and I’ll make “dial-up” look like warp speed.

I’ve never given much thought to my transition into the late fall of life until my lovely home-barber (wife) brought it to my attention that an increasing number of silver follicles were hitting the cutting cape. It was also beginning to look as though I had reached the stage where I might have to consider either tweezing or braiding my nose hairs.

As I’ve noted in previous columns, aging doesn’t bother me. I’ve been doing it since birth and the alternative sucks.

I enjoy the memories of the trail that has led me this far such as when I discovered why girls’ bicycles are designed differently than the boys. Later, that insight led to an advanced learning curve of understanding where it was revealed that, when it comes to dealing with the fairer sex, the term a “begging man” is not the exclusive forte of street bums.

As so many kids have, I went through the normal span of time when my parents’ IQs seemed to drop to a Neanderthal level. It was amazing how dramatically my worldliness overshadowed what they considered sage advice. Of course, they quickly achieved genius status again when I was on my own and chasing a paycheck.

It’s awe-inspiring how your perspective transforms when you’re forking over your own greenbacks for basic needs such as clothing, food and anything thirst-quenching excluding something called Pabst beer.

As the years drifted by, I added a plethora of contemporary words and terminology to my vocabulary such as: rent, insurance, credit cards, car payments and eventually, long-term mortgage payments.

Add all of the above and toss in awkward social growth interfaces such as being taken aback about how many women seemed to be doing their hair on Saturday nights and it was a bumpy start in life’s journey.

Aging remains a mysterious process for me.

Inside, I’m still the same motorcycle rumbling, drive-in movie necking, rock and roll drummer that I was during my college years.

I still have the fire of a young military officer but my mellowing exterior is starting to have some chassis problems and my joints are displaying notable corrosion. Even the dentist is beginning to grump about my gums. That’s strange because I follow her counsel to brush and floss. She is was unimpressed when I mentioned that even the oldest members of my clan still have all of their original teeth. Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned that most of them were in jars.

My family doc says that ancient athletic injuries are catching up to me so fast that soon, the only original body parts not requiring replacement will be my ears.

Lastly, my geezer syndrome has now progressed to the point where the growing prospects of more floor tile counting while a specialist parks his tour bus-sized proctoscope is not adding to my vision of aging gracefully.

Hey, when it all comes down to it, I really don’t see a problem with handling the maladies that we all face as we age just as long as I can still take care of my very special lady. It keeps me young just thinking about how lucky I am to have her in my life.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com.

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