Time can fly slow and fast

?Time flies when you?re having fun.? Or so they say. Time marches on whether we are having fun or not. The difference is how one sees time in relation to our awareness of its passage.

As a child, time seemed agonizingly slow. I could not wait for Dad to come home from work. All of the holidays took forever to arrive. So did birthdays. I could not wait to get older, like my sister?s age.

Neither could I wait to be old enough to sit at the adult?s table when company came over. I bet there are a few folks my age and older who remember this form of segregated dining as well.

Christmas and Thanks?giv?ing came along at appropriate times to break up monotony blues in school, but they seemed to come on their own, slow, steady pace.

Time was both fast and slow. When we were to be punished for an infraction at home or in school, time moved too fast. Plus, if we were punished in school, we could anticipate another round after arriving home. The anticipation of a double portion of punishment made the arrival of impending doom seem like an eternity.

That?s not to say I was an unruly child, though I had my usual share of misbehaving. I do recall an undeserved moment or two where I was judged as guilty as the rest, when teachers hauled every child within range of their grasp to the superintendent?s office, just for good measure.

And there was this time when a bully walked up to me at a basketball game and slapped my Grape Knee-high out of my hands, covering yours truly and the stands with the purple menace. Yes, I was punished for that as well.

That is my story, and I?m sticking to it.

Back to the topic at hand: time. Having aged slightly, I am encouraged as I observe others aging and dealing with the passage of time. Everybody must deal with it, like it or not. It matters little whether they are young like me, or much younger.

My granddaughters are experiencing time in ways I once knew. They eagerly await our arrival and want to see us right now! It is good to be needed.

Eva, the youngest in the family, is trying to catch up with her big sisters as fast as she can. She prefers the same adult food the big kids eat, rather than mashed vegetables and peas, pumpkin, etc. She thinks she is 5 years old, going on 6, but she is not quite there yet. And that is frustrating for her!

People half my age, or in-between, realize their increasing fallibilities just the same. Memories come and go. Bones ache, then get better, then ache again. Muscles shrink, replaced by that cellulosic substance. Diets change to adapt to decreased metabolism. Exercise, though once the domain of the younger fit and trim crowd, is a necessity. There never is enough time in the day to get up, get ready for work, eat, shower, etc., go to work, come home, have a life at home with family and friends, then go to bed to start over again.

Did I mention, I forgot to get on that exercise machine, again?

And then, there is this little issue of brain tissue that indicates there really is somebody home. Yes, those memories. Did I not mention them already? Ah, yes! Come again? Remember the time we?. No! It couldn?t have been that long ago!

I so enjoy watching younger peers at the Double Circle Day Care, as they are not getting any younger, either. However, in keeping with the code of the group, what goes on in Lehigh, stays in Lehigh, I will refrain divulging those goings-on.

You have to be there to appreciate it, believe me.

Today, time is at a premium, not because there?s so much stuff to do, but because priorities change as we age.

I am no longer looking for my first job, and hopefully, am not looking for the last one either. I am self-employed, managing our farm, in addition to writing for two publications. My time is as important as it was when I was looking for a job, if not even more important.

For the past 15 years, my time was invested between managing the farm business and representing wheat growers, advocating on their behalf on important issues at the state and national level.

That era is coming to an end, as I transition from the leadership team at National Association of Wheat Growers and focus primarily on managing the various aspects of the farm business.

I am looking forward to the change in status, for now. I want to travel, only to see our children and grandchildren, and perhaps do a little site-seeing of the places I could only observe while passing by overhead or observe from a hotel room. I rarely had the time to set aside and spend a couple days to play the tourist game.

Now, I will find the time to do that, plus continue farming and enjoy the company of neighbors and friends.

Paul Penner, former president of the National Association of Wheat Growers, farms in the Hillsboro area. He has been active statewide and nationally regarding agriculture policy.