Now that I am well into the second half of my life, I realize I am much like a car I drove until it would go no more.
The old car would go fast enough, it just took longer to get there. Things such as the heating and air conditioning still worked, although sometimes you had to jiggle one of the controls. The radio still worked, but occasionally, it required a firm strike of the heel of your hand on the dashboard.
As for me, I require glasses to see. I used to watch TV in bed without them, but now it’s gotten a bit fuzzy. And I believe magazines have made page numbers smaller than ever.
My wife accuses me of having selective hearing. I admit I don’t hear as well as I used to. My late Uncle Harry lost a good bit of his hearing before he died. Phone calls were sort of a shouting match, although I miss them very much.
If I need to retrieve something that requires me to crawl on my knees, I make advance plans on how I’m going to get back up.
But my sense of touch is working just fine, thank you. Touch is the one I hope I keep for a long time.
I sometimes like to touch my food. I don’t touch anybody else’s. I love the way a fresh slice of white bread feels when you take it out of the package.
I don’t touch the peanut butter, but I love the way that good fresh peanut butter glides onto that fresh slice of bread.
Fried chicken, which should be eaten only with your hands, feels so good when it has a wonderful breaded crust.
I love the way freshly laundered sheets feel when you get into the bed on the day you’ve changed them. I like the way a good silk necktie feels in your hands when you’re tying it.
I don’t particularly like sanding wood, but I love the way it smells and I love the smooth feeling.
I like to pinch off a piece of pound cake. I like the way it feels, particularly if it has a nice crust on top.
I enjoy when children hold your hand in search of security. That soft skin that no lotion can replicate is a wonderful gift of the young.
I love people who know how to touch. It might be a pat on the hand or forearm. It might be someone who is grabbing on for support. It might be someone just walking up and putting an arm around you.
I have a friend who takes the palm of their hand and cups it around the side of my face when they see me. It is uniquely their special touch and I receive it gladly.
And I like old hands, too. I have held a hand or two as life ebbs away. I can’t say I like it, but it is a touch I will never forget.
I also love the touch of words. I have people who are not the kind who make direct contact, but they offer kind words that massage your inner soul like nothing else. They offer the kind of words that can make you tingle from head to toe.
I give thanks today and every day for the gift of touch.
Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on gainesvilletimes.com/harris.