Changing Commitments

Our fast-paced, constantly changing world requires adaptation on a daily basis. This was not always the case as there was a time when life was a lot simpler. My folks only had one car and lived in a small frame house just like most of the neighbors.

To survive today, a person must be more flexible with both personal and social happenings. This causes a real problem for us men as we don't mind the change but keeping track of it becomes an issue.

Just when a man gets comfortable with things as they are, they change it.

Take for instance the golf course. You show up in the morning and all the holes have been moved around on the greens just when you got the approach shot down pat to the old location. Now that's a real hardship and can cause extended time to be spent on the 19th hole commiserating.

And, then, there’s the hunting and fishing rules. If you peruse the regulations book, it’s an absolute encyclopedia volume’s worth of different rules for different locations in the state. It gives catch and release a whole new purpose as the limit of fish, size requirements and time of year allowed is hard to keep track of.

Women, on the other hand, have no problem with change as they are experts at thinking on their feet. A life filled with family obligations, the kid’s activities, birthdays and living with a man makes them very effective dealing with life's unexpected events.

In fact, Ol' Dutch has observed that women often tend to change the plan mid-stride thereby causing what is known as “tension.” All of them claim that the plan never changed by playing on a man’s inability to remember is their way of covering their own tracks.

Trixie, bless her heart, is the most organized woman I have ever known. She goes to bed each night knowing exactly what she has planned for the next day and rises with a smile on her face and bubbling personality for all to see.

Ol' Dutch on the other hand, has no plan, no idea what he will do next and needs coffee before he can speak. This drives dear Trixie to distraction and is the one point of tension between us.

She will often say, “What do you think we should do tomorrow?”

Poor kid thinks that every day must be filled doing something. I’ve known a lot of others like that. Once a man retires, many people rush in trying to keep him busy.

Take for instance, the church, local civic groups or community clubs. Board members and deacons – trying to get out of their current commitments -- offer him all sorts of titles so he’ll join the fun and relieve them of their obligations.

Like the sirens call I refuse to answer when I get corralled at a potluck supper asking me to help out.

There is one voice, though, I cannot ignore. My mom.

Mom leads the church choir and knowing that Ol' Dutch sings like an angel, makes me sing in the choir. It’s my Mother’s Day present to her each year and let me tell you, it would be a lot less painful to get her a nice card and some flowers.

Suddenly I am thrust into a regimen of practice during the week and early Sunday rising so I can no longer come and go as I please. Remember that line from the old gospel song I’ll Fly Away, “Like a bird from prison bars has flown?” The songwriter must have known something about obligations, too.

Trixie thinks the choir practices and early morning singing are great. She keeps extolling the virtues of being organized, but I know better. She is simply way too young to understand the finer points of retirement.

Ol’ Dutch has been around this racetrack a few times in his life so she may find out that teaching an old dog new tricks is just too hard for her and that being happy is much better than being right.  Every woman knows you cannot have both with a man.