As time goes by

The gray is coming in a little faster. Your joints feel a little achy in the morning. Reading the morning paper has become a routine of squinting and stretching as you find it easier to focus on the small print if you hold the news at arm’s length.

You’re getting older. If you’re in that massive population group known as baby boomers, you’re starting to notice this stuff with frightening regularity. If you’re older than the boomers, you’re already face to face with (or in staunch denial about) issues of aging and death. If you’re younger, hey, don’t get smug. The pleasures of aging are eventually coming for you, as well.

Sure, growing old has its benefits: hard-earned wisdom, peace of mind, candid relations with people, and the ability to put things in perspective. But there’s no denying that aging has a giant downside: failing health, deteriorating memory … the slide to the end. Somewhere in the back of your mind, you may even fear you’ll eventually be headed alone to a retirement home. The thought can be a frightening one. But that’s where people like Don Terra come in.

In “Play us a song; your’re the piano man” on page 16, SN&R’s Chrisanne Beckner tells the poignant story of Terra, a piano man whose gig is playing music at retirement homes around the region. As Terra picks out old-time favorites on the keyboard, we meet Marguerite, who bounce-steps with her walker to his tunes; Mac, who picks a partner from among the many female residents and then dances with a wolfish grin to the piano’s boogie-woogie beat; and George, who gets tired of everyone acting like old folks, so he gregariously leads his neighbors through a chorus of “Jingle Bells.”

We’re all aging, moving without exception toward the inevitable. The take-home lesson is probably to make it count now … and hope there’s a Don Terra around later.