Always looking back

Published 9:26 am Wednesday, May 16, 2012

At age 2, Ben really didn’t care.

At 6, he looked at a 2-year-old and considered how young he was. Why, the 2-year-old walked awkwardly, spoke haltingly and cried frequently. He needed help just taking a bath!

At 12, he looked at a 6-year-old and thought how small and weak he was. The 6-year-old stayed close to his mother! Ben considered how much more he could do than one so small.

At 16, he looked at a 12-year-old and thought how immature he was. Heck, that 12-year-old didn’t even like girls! Ben was a veteran, having experienced high school and driving and parties and staying out late.

At 21, he looked at a 16-year-old and thought how immature he was. “Sixteen-year-olds don’t have a clue,” he thought. “They think all of life is high school and driving and parties and staying out late.”

At 30, married, Ben looked at a 21-year-old and thought how young and inexperienced he was. “Wait until he lives with someone else! Then he will learn a few things about life!”

At 40, with children, Ben looked at a 30-year-old and thought how his world centered on himself. “Wait until he has children! He’ll learn a thing or two then! It won’t be all about him!”

At 50, Ben looked at a 40-year-old and watched him raising his children. “Not the way I’d do it,” he thought. “He’ll learn.”

At 60, with grandchildren, Ben looked at a 50-year-old and remembered when he had that much energy. “He’ll learn to use his mind instead of his back one day,” he thought.

At 70, he looked at a 60-year-old and advised him to slow down.

At 80, he looked at a 70-year-old and called him a “young’un.”

At 90, Ben really didn’t care.

REX ALPHIN of Walters is a farmer, businessman, author, county supervisor and contributing columnist for The Tidewater News. His email address is