Today I'm Sixty-Nine

Today my mem'ries haunt me.
I think back through the years
Of boyhood days' experiences;
It saddens, yet, it cheers.
The way seems long, 'though all too short,
Perhaps one added sign
That now, today, in warm July
I've chalked up Sixty-Nine.

I know not where the years have gone.
Seems but a little while
Since as a schoolboy, "Way Back When",
I trudged a rugged mile.
I've checked events and happenings
To clear back down the line;
I've figured pro, I've figured con,
But still I'm Sixty-Nine.

Of manual labor did my share,
I've tried to use my brain;
I've upward climbed the ladder steep,
But often lost my gain.
The job of life, a man-sized task,
And one can't just resign;
For better or for worse it seems,
Yet still I'm Sixty-Nine.

When cares were pressing, pressing hard,
The time was dragging slow;
But when with joy my heart was filled,
Too swiftly it would go.
I look about on younger men,
But yet, I do not pine,
For somehow there's a lot of joy
In being Sixty-Nine.

'Tis true the hills are steeper now,
The summers hotter too;
And winter's icy blasts congeal
My blood clear through and through.
It seems I can not run as fast,
Although I'm feeling fine:
It just can be that one slows down
When he is Sixty-Nine.

But I would not retrace my steps
E'en though 'twere in my power;
I would not strain to gain the prize
Of boyhood's golden hour.
For if I should, I then would lose
Some loved ones who are mine,
For it is they who fill my heart
When I am Sixty-Nine.

One grows, I think, from morn to night,
Through life's constructive span;
Experience schools the active mind -
A part of God's great plan.
Of understanding, loyalties,
Capacities combine
And compensate for faltering steps
When one is Sixty-Nine.

We oft refer to "Three Score Ten",
And as a boy I knew
If one achieved that ripe old age,
Once reached, a man was through.
But somehow values now have changed,
I've drunk life's sparkling wine,
And vision fuller, happier days
Since I am Sixty-Nine.

The influence of mellowing years
Can cleanse a heart of guile,
And even fit a stumbling soul
For God's Great Afterwhile.
Somehow great peace is in my heart,
And all good things combine
To make me happy, proud and glad
That I am Sixty-Nine.

H. B. Austin
July 27, 1955