I recently paid a visit to my dermatologist to get some of the meanness cut out of me.


As I sat there in the examination room, a young lady was typing in all the vital information. I asked her, “Do I call you doctor?”


She replied, “Oh, no. I'm not a doctor. I'm a nurse practitioner’s aide.”


My inquisitive mind sprung into action. I couldn’t help but ask, “I don't wish you to think me rude, but how old are you? 


She told me she was nineteen years old. Then she asked, “How old did you think I was?”


I told her that, truthfully, I didn't have any age in mind... but it sure seemed like she knew what she was doing. This brought a smile to her face. 


My curious brain wasn’t yet satisfied, so I asked, “How long have you been doing this?”


Now, in this case, I did have an answer in mind. From the questions she was asking and the speed she was typing, I figured she had been working there for at least a year. So imagine my surprise when she replied that she’d only been there for two months. 


How about that? Nineteen. Fantastic! 


Y’know, today, I still think of myself as a nineteen-year-old. I told her that I don’t see myself as an older person yet... even though I can’t do a fraction of what I was doing at her age.


Because when I was nineteen, I was running around the jungles of Vietnam.


Now, don’t get me wrong... I know I’m an older fella. In fact, I’m the third oldest in my Sunday school class at Herrin First Baptist Church. But y’know what... those two fellas who are older than me are also young at heart. It must be contagious. I don’t know if they caught it from me or if I caught it from them, but we all still think of ourselves as nineteen-year-olds. 


Even today, at seventy-six years young. I miss the adrenaline rush of my youth. I can’t describe it, but maybe folks of my generation who are reading this know what I’m talkin’ about.


Just the other day, an old Navy veteran – he was the same age as me – came to the shop for a visit. During our chat, we both agreed that, if given the opportunity, we would not trade away one minute of our experience in Vietnam.


Because what happened to us at nineteen... made us who we are today.


So, how young do you feel today? 


Be well. Stay well. Thanks for readin’.


Francis Pass


P.S. – The great philosopher, Toby Keith, once said, “I ain’t as good as I once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was.” Rest easy, Mr. Keith.