The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

May 17, 2014

Raiders of the lost years and milk

From The Back Porch

By Nerissa Young

— I am a cheap date. I think that’s why men have stopped trying. There is no challenge at all for a woman who is content to sit on the front porch and watch the grass grow.

As I get older, I get even easier to please. Last Christmas, all three of us kids asked for socks. I told my brother that we are getting old. Turns out, we all actually needed socks. I got socks for Terry and Jeff, and Terry and Mom got socks for me. We were all happy, especially the people selling socks.

Last Sunday evening, Mom and I decided we couldn’t waste a beautiful day so we left the safety and security of our recliners to venture to the front porch and sit a spell.

Not long after the cat stopped using us for a scratching post, a herd of bees showed up. Now I know that bees don’t travel in herds, that there’s a correct scientific name for a group of bees. Let’s see. It’s a gaggle of geese, a pack of pigs and a buzz of bees, I think.

Anyhow, those insects were strafing Mom like the Red Baron. I went inside to retrieve a fly swatter and can of Raid. I sat in the swing with the fly swatter by my side while Mom sat in a wicker chair working on her to-do list with a can of Raid by her side.

Every so often, she’d pick it up, shoot a white stream of death across the porch and drop a bee midwing.

“Didja git ’im?” I asked every time.

I couldn’t help but think we looked like that scene from “Secondhand Lions” where little Haley Joel Osment meets his wacky uncles Michael Caine and Robert Duvall for the first time. The men are sitting on the front porch with shotguns in their laps waiting to nail the next traveling salesman who is foolish enough to venture up their driveway.

Some say the mind is the first to go with advancing years.

Sometimes when I have a lot to unload from the Jeep, I’ll unlock my back door and throw it open to make the carrying in easier. I no sooner got my arms loaded and walked up the steps than I saw my open back door.

My mind went into a panic: “Did I leave the door open? Did burglars break in?” I quickly scanned the den and saw my 30-year-old TV was still in the house. Then I remembered I had just opened the door moments earlier.

A couple of days later, I stopped at Speedway for milk and put the bagged jug into the Jeep’s floorboard. No more than 2 miles later, I got ready to go into the house, saw something in the floor and thought, “What’s that?”

A close family friend reported he mistakenly put Soft Soap onto his toothbrush. That makes perfect sense to me. That soap comes in exotic colors one could easily mistake for gel toothpaste — red could be cinnamon, and green could be mint.

I was in Mom’s shower for the second of as many nights when I squinted at the green bottle I’d been using for body wash. I finally got focused and noticed it was shampoo. That explained why I had a dickens of a time washing off all those suds and why the hair on my legs and underarms had extra volume. Gee, I hope I don’t get armpit dandruff.

Another birthday is fast approaching. Even though I know I’m not the 25-year-old I still think I am, I stick by what I’ve said for years when people ask me about getting older.

You have two choices: You get old or you get dead, and I’d just as soon keep getting older for a while.

Now, who left my back door open, and where did I put the milk?

— Young is a freelance columnist for The Register-Herald. E-mail:

© 2014 by Nerissa Young