City of Houston

In a letter he wrote in 1789, Benjamin Franklin said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Even if the quip was made tongue-in-cheek, Ben was on the mark with that. But perhaps it could also be said that as long as we haven’t succumbed to the first of those two certainties, there is another thing we can be sure of: the negative effects of aging.

After all, as long as we live, we get older, and a body getting older isn’t synonymous with a body getting better.

At least as far as I can tell.

Lately, I’ve been coming to grips with that reality more and more. That’s in no small part due to sustaining a pretty major – and highly annoying – shoulder injury that resulted from, well, I’m not 100-percent sure what. But while I’m not positive what caused my shoulder to suddenly become the focus of my existence, I’m convinced it wasn’t something that would have injured the version of me I lived with most of my life.

Doug Davison

Doug Davison

In fact, for most of my life, I don’t recall spending much time at all considering how physically taxing an activity might be or how my body might react to it. If something seemed like fun or needed to be done, I pretty much just did it.

But where I am now, it’s like every situation involving potential physicality becomes a math problem. Rather than just diving in, I ponder the benefits of the end result, weigh that against what level of bodily harm or discomfort might be encountered on the way, and base my decision to begin on the solution to the equation.

When I was younger, I didn’t really have to think about avoiding physical exertion. I was a lanky ribbon of sinewy energy that was always ready to be unleashed upon any form of exercise.

But now I’m more like a flimsy strip of moist sponge that can’t help but consider – and limit – episodes of physical expenditure. I have no choice in the matter; even if my brain was overcome by delusion to the point that it tried to convince my body to do things the way I used to, it would fail. My body wouldn’t go there – because it can’t.

While I haven’t waved the white flag just yet, I can tell the effects of age are winning, and it’s only a matter of time until the victory is complete.

My shoulder is a good example. I’ve seen lots of improvement in it, but it has taken quite a while to get to that point. Longer than it would have before all my aging.

That’s a bit of a hard pill to swallow for a guy who used to take the chair lift to the 7000-foot level, and then hike a mile to 8000-feet in order to ski the “back bowls.”

It’s kind of weird to think that during my high school basketball days, it wasn’t unusual for my coach to just leave me in as long as I stayed out of foul trouble. Now I’d probably commit a few extra fouls on purpose in order to get some seat time.

Yep, I guess there comes a time when age catches up with us. In fact, there comes a time when age changes almost everything – even things we’ve always taken for granted.

I never used to wear belts. Now I have to rely on one to keep my pants squeezed to my expanded gut line.

I used to always see the final play of a night game on TV. Now I go to bed without caring about missing the second half.

I used to keep our property pretty well manicured. Now I’m OK with letting a few more weeds grow big around the perimeter.

Nope, things just aren’t the same when the body starts to “go.” Which seems to me to be somewhat of a contradiction in terms, because the body I’m using doesn’t “go” like it once did.

I think I once heard a TV wife say to her husband, “You’re definitely not as young as I used to be.”

I can relate.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer, copy editor and advertising representative for the Houston Herald. Past versions of his column can be seen on the blog page at Email:

Houston’s City Council and other officials met Tuesday and got a sneak peak at a new video system that monitors Emmett Kelly Park, the site of frequent vandalism.

The council gathered for a presentation from Police Chief Jim McNiell, who showed how it works.

Much to the surprise of the council, members viewed the monitor and saw vandalism occurring. McNiell dispatched an officer to the scene.

A West Plains firm installed the equipment.

Houston receives a mention in a National Geographic project that kicked off Geography Awareness Week. The organization asked all 100 U.S. senators to draw a map of their state from memory and label at least three important places.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., included Houston on her map. McCaskill family members were local merchants and operated the local mill. She was born while the family lived in Houston.

Writes the senator: “Houston – My dad’s home town. I lived there when I was born.”

Asphalt work under way in Houston on Tuesday.

Asphalt work under way in Houston on Tuesday.

For the first time, the City of Houston’s asphalt contains recycled material, such as ground tires.

Street Superintendent Joe Kirkman pronounced the material a success today after viewing work in a new Oak Hill Drive subdivision.

Festival FunThe annual Emmett Kelly Clown Festival has drawn its last breath, organizers of the event that began in 1988 announced late last week. The affair won’t be held this year.

Organized by the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce, the festival began as a three-day festival to honor Emmett Kelly Sr., the hometown boy who went on to worldwide fame as a circus clown. His character, Weary Willie, delighted millions across the globe. A Houston park is named in his honor.

Held annually the first Friday and Saturday in May, the event featured a variety of activities, including a carnival and a parade that attracted participants throughout the Midwest over the years. The festival drew publicity in numerous publications and television programs. PBS sent a Minneapolis camera crew to Houston one year to document the event.

The festival was a big undertaking, and some years rain put a damper on activities and profits.

The chamber said it plans to add activities to its schedule in lieu of the festival: An April 25 demolition derby and a spring event on May 16.


Steve HutchesonHouston Mayor Steve Hutcheson is recovering from back surgery last week in Springfield. 

Hutcheson, who returned home over the weekend, is resting at his home. Mayor Pro Tem Don Romines will oversee Tuesday night’s Houston City Council meeting.

UPDATE: Hutcheson was able to attend Tuesday night’s meeting.