The advantages of geezerhood
Every time I go to New York, I learn something new. Last time, I learned that I’m one of these people.
I know that because every single time I got onto a subway, people leaped up to offer me their seat. My baby is a college graduate, and the only happy event I’m expecting is the release of the new iPhones. (My death-by-techie brother sometimes gives me his old ones.) So that leaves me as the three-legger. Wait… WTF?
See, I think of myself as this.
But apparently, in the light from the New York subway system, I’m this:
And that’s when it hit me. There are actually some good things about getting old. I haven’t made an exhaustive list yet, but here are a few that I’ve just come up with.
Not even counting the fact that it certainly beats the alternative, the top ten great things about getting older are:
10: On vacation, your energy runs out before your money does.
9. Nobody expects you to learn things the hard way.
8. You don’t sweat the small stuff (and not just because you can’t see it any more without your good glasses—which you haven’t seen in months and so you mostly just wear the ones from the Dollar Store that you buy by the dozen).
7. Old people get released first in hostage situations. (Probably because the terrorists get tired of being told to “Speak up young man!”)
6. You can mess with your kids’ heads by telling them you’ve decided to sell your house, buy a boat, and sail around the world. (Bonus points for working the phrase “In my remaining years” into that conversation.)
5. Senior discounts. People just look at you and knock off 15%.
4. You start to feel like you’re getting your money’s worth out of all that medical insurance you’ve been paying for all these years. This is an important topic that you feel certain everyone around you would like to hear more about. Much more…
3. Stretch trousers: your middle-finger salute to the Fashion Police.
2. It’s so easy to get laughs. Just use very modern slang, mention your latest social media app or Stories on Snapchat, or talk about a GIF you made—but end each sentence with “Dear” or “Sweetheart”.
And the top reason it’s great to get old?
1 Even though your memory has always been crap and you’ve been forgetting things all your life, now people just chuckle about “senior moments” and totally forgive you. At least, Andrew Joyce has forgiven me for totally, completely, utterly forgetting to do the review I promised for his new book, Resolution. It wasn’t even that I didn’t read the book. I’d been pestering him to finish it up and send it to me, and the second he did I shoved it in front of the rest of my TBR list and raced through it. Then I went to London, and there was this incredibly adorable grandbaby, and then I just… okay, I forgot.
So here’s my review.
[NOTE:On the way to the airport the next day, two young men politely argued over which one should offer me his seat. Another man asked if I was going to the airport—you think it was the suitcase?—and stood nearby so he could tell me when I was within two stops because the speakers weren’t working. Geezerhood rocks!]
Blurb: Resolution by Andrew Joyce
It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a trembling, because I’d got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself:
‘All right, then, I’ll go to hell’- and tore it up.
― Mark Twain,
It is 1896 in the Yukon Territory, Canada. The largest gold strike in the annals of human history has just been made; however, word of the discovery will not reach the outside world for another year.
By happenstance, a fifty-nine-year-old Huck Finn and his lady friend, Molly Lee, are on hand, but they are not interested in gold. They have come to that neck of the woods seeking adventure.
When disaster strikes, they volunteer to save the day by making an arduous six hundred mile journey by dog sled in the depths of a Yukon winter. They race against time, nature, and man. With the temperature hovering around seventy degrees below zero, they must fight every day if they are to live to see the next.
On the frozen trail, they are put upon by murderers, hungry wolves, and hostile Indians, but those adversaries have nothing over the weather. At seventy below, your spit freezes a foot from your face. Your cheeks burn—your skin turns purple and black as it dies from the cold. You are in constant danger of losing fingers and toes to frostbite.
They cannot stop or turn back. They can only go on. Lives hang in the balance—including theirs.
Book Title: Resolution Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure
Author: Andrew Joyce
Genre: Western Adventure
Publisher: William Birch & Assoc.
Length: 370 pages
Release Date: 13 April, 2016
My review: 5 out of 5 stars for Resolution by Andrew Joyce
As a young country, America compressed what would be centuries of development in the countries of her founders’ European roots into a period of one lifetime. Andrew Joyce captures this as he continues to ‘document’ the life of Mark Twain’s iconic Huck Finn. Like most Americans, I’d followed young Huck and his friend Tom Sawyer in a bucolic antebellum South, and then as the young teen faced ingrained racism, criminal greed, and coming of age on the Mississippi River.
That’s where Andrew Joyce steps in to take up the tale. What happens, he asks us to imagine, when Tom and Huck grow up? They’ll go through the Civil War—Confederates, of course—and that crucible will undoubtedly define the men they become. Their tale is told in Joyce’s first book, best-seller Redemption. In that novel, there is a short encounter with a beautiful 18-year-old, Molly Lee, rescued by Huck from Yankee rapists before he leaves to continue his life.
Molly’s story is told in Joyce’s next book, Molly Lee. Her tale takes up the next stage of American history as the free-for-all Wild West gives way to established ranches and farms.
Thirty-five years later, Molly and Huck finally meet again. As Resolution begins, we join them as members of a posse led by Tom Sawyer to catch a killer. But even as they face the dangers of the wild west days—gunfights, stampedes, hostile native peoples—there is a strong feeling of this being the last time. Those days are ending and Huck doesn’t see a place for himself there.
But they are still looking for adventure, and Huck tells Molly there is one that beckons. Alaska.
So there you have it. I’m not quite sure what will be waiting for us when we get there, but that’s why I want to go; to experience new things, new sensations, in a new land. I want to go to where there isn’t another person for hundreds of miles. Although I wouldn’t mind having you within a hundred miles, preferably right next to me.
And off they head for one more great adventure together—gunfights, murderous robbers, wolves, dogs, sleds, gold rush, a raft (of course!) and above all the deadly beautiful land itself.
In each of his books, Andrew Joyce uses the setting as almost another character. We see the “Wild West” growing up, getting tamed by settlers, farmers, the railroad. We see Alaska just starting to face those same challenges. Despite its bare bones approach to sensory descriptions, the spare prose and dialog convey the overwhelming and impersonal power, beauty, and threat of the country as Molly and Huck make their way.
From the dangers faced on their raft to their six-hundred mile dog sled race against a frozen winter landscape to the threats—human, wolf, and nature itself—they face along the way, this is fast-paced distilled adventure. But ever so subtly, the real theme of the book starts to make itself heard. It is the most basic of all character development, the coming of age story. Even though Molly and Huck are middle-aged, they are growing up. Just as the pre-War South, the Civil War horrors, the Wild West adventures, the struggles to establish farms and towns have all contributed to America’s coming of age, so too does this final adventure represent an oddly-complete maturity for Huck and especially Molly.
“The killing has to stop sometime. So I think that right here, right now, in the middle of this goddamn Yukon Territory, hundreds of miles from civilization, I am going to renounce killing. You can do whatever you wish. I do want to live and I want John to live, but if it means killing another human being to do so, then I will die now. I don’t aim to ever raise a gun in anger again, even to save John’s life.”
As I said in my review of Molly Lee, if westerns as a genre are about seizing control of our own fate—the ultimate American-defining trope—then Huck Finn and Molly Lee’s story is as American as a western could possibly be. Certainly, I think it deserves every one of those five stars.
**I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**
Contacts and Buy-Links
Excerpts—the antagonists from Resolution
There are many antagonists in Resolution. Such as:
Huck, tiring of the conversation, picked up the bottle and filled his and Molly’s glasses. Jass’ was still full. “Alright, Mister Knight, how do you plan on doing it? Take us out back and shoot us?”
“I must say you are taking this like a gentleman. No crying or begging for mercy?”
“Would I get any?”
“Most likely not.”
Huck looked at Molly and nodded.
She stood with such force that she knocked her chair backwards and it started to fall. She had her gun out and in her hand before the chair hit the floor. The scraping noise of the chair as Molly stood turned the men’s attention from the gold to the table. It was the last act of their lives. Molly had a bullet into each one of them before they knew they were dead.
The two-legs are just ahead. The three females fan out to attack on the left—to drive the two-legs to the rear, where the males await. The pup, in happy anticipation, watches and learns the way of the hunter.
• • • • •
“Here, Molly, take the pistol! Jass! Get back-to-back with Molly and get ready with one of your crutches. You may have to use it as a club.”
Bright was itching to fly into the grayness and have at the interlopers, but Huck ordered him to stay put. So far, the dog had done as he had been told. Just then, a wolf shot out of the fog and snapped its jaws an inch from Huck’s arm. Bright did not wait for permission. He was off the mark and had his jaws clamped on the wolf’s neck before Huck could react. The wolf was bigger and stronger than Bright and easily shook him off. Then it started to melt back into the icy mist, but before it was completely swallowed up by the frozen vapor, another wolf attacked. It snarled and snapped at Molly, but did not go in for the kill.
Molly couldn’t get off a shot because she was afraid of hitting Huck or Bright. Huck went to her side, handed her the rifle, and took the Colt. But before he could use it, the wolves were gone.
“Why didn’t they finish us off?” stammered Molly.
“They’re trying to drive us back a ways. The rest of the pack must be back there. But we’re gonna fool ’em. We ain’t movin’,” answered Huck.
Black scabs from frostbite dotted Huck’s face. In other places, the flesh was purple where the skin was just beginning to die. His brows and beard were covered in a fine white frost.
He had no idea how many miles he had covered. But he did know that he wasn’t going to cover many more. He wasn’t even sure how many days he’d been gone. He was as played out as a man could be and still be alive. He was starved, frozen, and so tired that it took all his will not to lie down in the snow and just give up.
On his next step, he stumbled and fell headlong into the waiting and beguiling arms of The White Death.