Notes from Jan

The Sans of Time

September 22, 2023

No, I didn’t leave out the D, as in sands of time. I meant sans as found in lines from William Shakespeare’s, As You Like It. I’m referring to The Seven Ages of Man speech by Jaques. Remember? “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts.”

Ok, I get that. But then Shakespeare gets to the final age. “Last scene of all, that ends this strange eventful history, is second childishness and mere oblivion; sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.” Well, that’s a bit extreme, Bill, if I may be so personal, which I feel free to do, since you just hit me with a glimpse into my mirror.

Actually, I enjoyed this play in my early twenties, far removed from sans anything except money. But in my eighties, it’s gotten personal. Take yesterday, for example. I had a conversation with my dentist about bone loss in my front bottom teeth. To bridge the impending gap, so to speak, involved a specialist and more money than I paid for my Prius thirteen years ago. So I asked my most pressing question, “What if I do nothing?” I mean I’m capable of cutting corn off the cob instead of sinking my bottom teeth into it and swallowing more than a few kernals.

He didn’t take long to respond. “You will lose a tooth or more. And it will happen at a most inoportune time.” Well, that presented a host of scenarios, like when I used to emcee for Vision New England’s Congress at the Hynes Auditiorium in Boston. My face appeared on a BIG screen. It’s one thing to deal with sans make-up, sans eyebrows (which were two of the critiques I received) but not sans teeth.

Oh well, I no longer emcee anything. So I don’t worry about being seen on a big screen. Although, I’m a bit startled sometimes at the old woman I see on Zoom meetings. As to sans eyes, I pick up reading glasses at Job Lot or CVS. So far, taste still tastes. But the “sans everything” is too much to handle without another cup of coffee and a prayer of “Lord, have mercy.”

And yet, old Will makes me think. We do play many parts. And an exit time comes for all of us. Which leaves me asking, what am I willing to do without? Sans what? And what must I hold onto for dear life?

The list is short.

Like one of my refrigerator magnets says, “What you don’t need is as important as what you do need.”

And so I sing again, “In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus.”

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  • Reply Evelyn Morgan September 22, 2023 at 12:10 pm

    Jan, this hit home. I have had to learn to live without teeth for about 10 years, since a neurologist gave me the wrong med and my teeth all fell out. Dentures are very difficult to manage, so I have had to learn to eat soft foods. No more corn or meat that is not ground up. BTW, did you receive package I sent with wood carving? Maybe Poco will enjoy it’s history.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg September 22, 2023 at 6:42 pm

      Ouch! Sorry to read this. You know how to hard things so I’ m sure your’e more than just managing, dear Evie. And yes I received your package. It’s going to Basil,the next time I go to California. I wrote to you a couple of days ago via snail mail. So you’ll get something other than bills in the mail and flyers to buy such and such at the grocery store. Thank you for thinking to send the fisherman and his dog to me. Like most things, the fisherman has a story. The dog must’ve followed him home..

  • Reply Anne Kirby September 22, 2023 at 7:44 pm

    I really enjoyed your commentary on this sans yopic. Thank you for great insight, Jan.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg September 23, 2023 at 9:05 am

      Well, dear Anne, there’s a wide age range in people who read this blog. And sometimes, I suspect, when I write on aging, it startles some and prompts others to stop reading. However, as much as teeth matter, it’s the heart that’s the real focus. It’s the sans. the withouts in life. What am I willing to do without? Thanks for taking the time to read and respond to this, Anne. I’m glad you took something from it besides the fact I may have to cough up a tooth or two.

  • Reply Russell K Bishop September 22, 2023 at 10:53 pm

    Be true to your teeth or they’ll be false to you…

    • Reply Jan Carlberg September 23, 2023 at 9:12 am

      Russ, I can always count on you to add to whatever humor I intended. Tooth be told, I’m always grateful for your wit and insights when we’re together with friends. Speaking of, see you soonish at the Ipswich Inn for breakfast with our Bible study group.

  • Reply Russell K Bishop September 23, 2023 at 1:18 pm

    Lifelong friends are priceless. Looking forward to the 14th!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg September 23, 2023 at 9:01 pm

      Me, too. Good friends, good food, good conversation, hard to beat. And crispy bacon, as well.

  • Reply Barbara Van Brunt September 25, 2023 at 9:28 pm

    You always make me smile. I love it! Your sense of humor is a great blessing to me and so many others!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg September 26, 2023 at 4:33 pm

      Thanks,, Barbara. I smile recalling retreats you invited me to participate in with the Salvation Army. Loved those times.Thanks for all the good work you and Fred did during your years in New England with the Salvation Army . Ohio and your Grands are now the recipients of your good hearts and helping hands..

  • Reply Toni Lovingood October 6, 2023 at 11:06 am

    How I love all your posts! We are all marching toward the final curtain call. Reminded me of the song, “Only One Life”. It matters so little how much we may own, the places we’ve been or the people we’ve known. It all comes to nothing when placed at His feet, It’s nothing to Jesus, just memories to keep. Only one life, so soon it will pass, only what’s done for Christ will last, so give to Jesus all your days, it’s the only life that pays….
    My goal is to leave them a memory of a life that pointed them to the Giver of Life.

    Our bodies have to check in to the repair shop for new parts more often now. Keep smiling!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg October 6, 2023 at 11:32 am

      Thanks, dear Toni, for checking in to the blog as well as for the reminder we have to “check in to the reapir shop for new parts more often now.” Too true. We had a wall plaque when I was a child that read: Only one life Twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.” “A good reminder that we only have one life on this earth and to enjoy it and use wisely our one small dash.

  • Reply Maggie Rowe October 9, 2023 at 7:14 pm

    Jan, your post about the things we are sans as we age reminded me of something a friend in our former church used to say: “Aftee the age of 60, it’s patch, patch, patch!”

    • Reply Jan Carlberg October 9, 2023 at 9:32 pm

      Sounds like a plan. Or to try to see myself as a unqieu pice of art…like a patchwork quilt.

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