Truckin’ into old age…ouch

Early morning full moon captured on April 5, 2004, on U.S. 221 just south of Willis.

Dropped the Grateful Dead’s classic American Beauty album into the CD player last night to veg out on the lyrics of Truckin’, which seemed appropriate after this long, strange week.

Truckin’ got my chips cashed in
Keep truckin’ like the doodah man
Together, more or less in line
Just keep truckin’ on

Arrows of neon and flashing marquees out on Main Street
Chicago, New York, Detroit and its all the same street
Your typical city involved in a typical daydream
Hang it up and see what tomorrow brings

–Truckin’, The Grateful Dead

Strange times indeed. First heard the song at a Dead concert at The Mississippi River Festival on the campus of Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville back in the “swinging 70s.”

Truckin’ became one of my favorite road songs. The 70s were a time of freedom perceived and lives. I attended that concert to review the show and shoot photos for The Telegraph, my newspaper home for all the 70s.

Oh, those were the days.

The days now, are filled with strife on the streets, pandemics that threaten all of us and a haunting dread that the America we have loved and enjoyed is gone.

For the first time of my life, I feel old…really old. Like so many, I’m hobbled by too little work and too little income in these depressed economic and pandemic times. I’m hobbled too, with something wrong with both of my lower legs, which have lost more than half of their strength, swell too often and sent me writhing in the night with massive cramps.

Tests show no signs of diabetes, no coronary disease, no blood clots are other circulation problems.

An attempt to back my Harley out of the garage on Wednesday to join a friend for a ride failed because I could not get the bike to move as I sat in the seat and tried to roll it back with my feet.

At first, I thought a brake might be sticking but after putting it onto a life (with a lot of help), both of the wheels turned freely and the brakes were working fine. I simply did not have the strength to push it back with my feet.

Tests do show my strength if down by 55 percent on one leg and 60 on the other. They also rule out kidney or liver problems. Perhaps it is lack of activity and no time in a gym that has been closed for the last two plus months. It could be the extra 20 or so pounds I have added in these days of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. Let’s hope the Floyd Fitness Center reopens in Phase II of the governor’s “recovery.”

I’ve been poked and prodded by doctors and specialists a lot in recent days. It has become routine for a man who escaped death in a motorcycle accident in late 2012. Perhaps the repaired broken bones, held together now by braces, rods, pin and screws are rebelling.

Or perhaps it is just age. At 72, I’ve outlived too many accidents, injuries, broken bones and the like. Perhaps.

So maybe I’ll just grove to Jerry Garcia:

Truckin’ like the doodah man
Once told me “Gotta play your hand
Sometimes the cards ain’t worth a dime
If you don’t lay them down”

Sometimes the lights all shining on me
Other times I can barely see
Lately it occurs to me
What a long strange trip it’s been

Truckin’ I’m a going home
Whoa, whoa, baby, back where I belong
Back home, sit down and patch my bones
And get back truckin’ on

–Truckin’ – The Grateful Dead (Used with permission)

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