Fore Fathers

The Big Three will be the honorary starters for the 2016 Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, tomorrow. If you haven’t seen it, the interview of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Gary Player sitting in white rockers on the patio of the Eisenhower cabin is pure class. They are timeless, legendary golfers, nattily dressed in their green jackets, hair silvered but smiles flashing just as big as ever. They have won a total of thirteen Masters championships. Mr. Palmer is looking his age a bit more than his friends, and he will not attempt a drive off the first tee tomorrow. His face was drawn, his speech was a little harder to understand, but he still laughed at the old stories. He summed up the situation quite simply. “Time moves on.”

My friend and fellow physician Rob Lamberts has been exercising more lately, trying to reclaim some pre-middle age energy and tone, and he has been learning that the aches and pains that result from the effort of regular exercise sometimes  rival the effects of aging itself. After having hiked ten miles up and down a mountain this past Sunday, and still feeling the ache of sore quads going down stairs three days later, I can commiserate. Do we stop pushing and exercising and staying active and moving? No sir. We keep doing it, because we want to enjoy life as much as possible, in as good a state of health as possible, for as long as possible. We know that time moves on. We would just like it to move a little more slowly for us.  

Dan Fogelberg sings about this in his song Forefathers. I think he sums it all up succinctly, much as Palmer did, by saying that “we all become forefathers by and by”. Of course, Fogelberg himself died at the early age of fifty six of advanced prostate cancer, cutting short a prolific musical career. 

Time does move on. 

We will all be someone’s ancestor someday. 

For now, though, we can laugh at the stories about golfing shenanigans of the past, enjoy watching the young guns who would be the next ones to slip on a green jacket late Sunday afternoon, and exercise until we feel the aches and pains that let us know in no uncertain terms that life is not yet over for us, and we should never waste a day of it.