February 01, 2023


Nowlan: Hurtling toward ‘home plate’ as we age

Jim Nowlan

Sheltering in place during the pandemic offered old duffers like me, nearing 81, plenty of time, maybe too much, to reflect. I wonder if other “mature” readers have been reflecting.

Old friends around me are dropping like flies, and others are hobbled by physical and cognitive problems that lack good outcomes. I realize that I, too, am in the middle of this baseball season, hurtling toward “home plate.”

Looking back, on both Little League and the game of life, I recall hitting a few singles to center. But never the home run I was capable of. The vagaries of the ball, bat and my weak follow-through never connected just right. Alas.

Now in the clubhouse locker room, you might say, I just can’t bring myself to close for good the louvered door to my locker. I suit up and stretch out my aches as best I can.

I am no longer capable of the four-bagger; truth be told, maybe I never was, but, hey, singles can often score a run.

I must finish the civic project in my town, and help a couple of former students win elections. And wrap up a primer/memoir on American politics. Not the stuff of biography maybe, yet chock-full of valuable life’s lessons learned, mostly enjoyed, though far fewer than I imagine will find my scribblings of any interest.

Out on the field, I look around. The stands are mostly empty. The day is, however, sunny. Its warmth makes me realize I must thank somebody, something out there, who knows, just for giving me the chance to play the game at all.

• Nowlan is a retired professor, politician and newspaperman in central Illinois.

Jim Nowlan

Jim Nowlan

Jim Nowlan is a retired professor and former Illinois legislator and state agency director. He has worked for three unindicted Illinois governors.