Harry Adams has found the elixir of life. Unfortunately for the rest of us, it does not come in a bottle.
At 88, Mr. Harry scoots all over town in his sporty two-door car, plays the organ, tends a few flowers and plants, is host to a cat, paints and, oh yeah, jogs about 3 miles every day.
I have known Harry Adams for more than 45 years. If you’re doing the math, he was 43 and I was 8 when we met.
Not long after that, he became the postmaster of the brand-new post office in Social Circle. I thought he was doing such a splendid job that I wrote his boss a letter. The big boss, Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th president of the United States. Nixon wrote me back and thanked me for my kind note.
Mr. Harry was also the Social Circle correspondent for The Walton Tribune, our county newspaper. Being the Social Circle correspondent was not a full-time job, but I’m sure the post office frowned on such a thing. Because of this, Mr. Harry wrote under a pseudonym, Mrs. Harry Adams.
Everybody knew Martha Adams did not write the newspaper page, but we just went along with it.
Sometimes, what would be a nonevent in today’s world was a major headline on the Social Circle page. When I was baptized, there was a story with the headline, “Young Harris Blackwood enters waters of baptism.” It was big news, complete with a list of all the out-of-town relatives who came to see Preacher Tribble put me under.
As I reached my teen years, I lost track of Harry Adams. I knew Martha had died, but that was about the extent of my knowledge of their whereabouts.
A while back, we reconnected through his daughter, Jane, who is my real friend on Facebook. I found out he lives in the Augusta area.
Recently, I had the occasion to be in Augusta on a Sunday and I called Mr. Harry and invited myself to go to church with him. I had seen a picture or two on Facebook, but didn’t know what to expect.
If you are Harry Adams, 88 is the new 68. He looked rather professorial in his perfectly tied bow tie and plaid blazer. There were no signs this man was an octogenarian. He stands straight as an arrow and walks rather briskly. He has a full complement of white hair that adds an air of dignity. He takes no prescription medications and gobbles down a few vitamins each day. His only health issue requires him to eat a gluten-free diet, which he has mastered very well.
The potion that has kept Harry Adams going strong at 88 is life itself. He became a widower nearly 20 years ago and could have given up. He tended a full house and beautifully landscaped gardens until just a few years ago.
Long life has been an attribute in his family and he may have been handed the right set of genes.
He said when his time comes, he wants to go quickly. But that’s not on the agenda. He seems to have found a way to drink a fresh cup of life each morning and uses every ounce of it and awakens to find a refill the next day.
Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on gainesvilletimes.com/harris.