Who am I? 2018

After turning seventy I have accepted the title of old man. There is no way that I can believe that I am younger. I am officially, in my mind, an old man. I have survived life’s twist and turns, and I am proud to make it to be an old man. This reminded me of a chapter in my book, so I thought I would blog it out.
One day I was preparing for the departure of my wife. She was headed down south to a gathering of the family. We both could not go on this trip, so she is representing both of us. We started yesterday by cleaning out and washing the truck. She then started packing the truck with gifts that she had wrapped that day. She also placed all the change of clothes that should cover the five-day trip. At this point I am the husband, uncle and grandfather who stayed at home.
I thought about this and all the different names, titles or hats that I wear just by being alive. I’m going to review some of those titles, not in an order of importance but rather as it strike my mind. On this occasion I was Steve, a 67-year-old white man with minimal health issues and the self-image that refused to be old. I never really met my grandparents, so it is not known what they would’ve called me. But, my mom and dad called me Stephen. If I was in trouble they use my complete name; first, middle and last. While I was working I was called Officer Sumner or Detective Sumner or just Sumner. Police departments, like the military, tend to call you by your last name rather than your rank or your first name. So, who am I? While working for the police department, to some people I was a good guy. When they are in trouble and needed help I was there to help. To others I was the fuzz, the heat (many other names I will not use) or the PoPo. I was a hero by the first group and hated by the second group. I was a collector of facts in the court or a liar in the minds of the family of the arrestee.
I also was Steve the husband. Although my wife does not use my name Steve as often as some sort of pet name, like sweetheart or honey. Of course, if I’ve done something wrong she, like my parents, uses my full name. After my marriage I became Uncle Steve. To some of my nieces and nephews I was a positive person in their life. To others I was a very strict and grumpy old man who just happened to be a family member. Of course, I was a brother, big brother, to my siblings. I was the oldest of four children and therefore called big brother, now I weigh so much the title is justified. To my mom and dad, I was their son. And they lovingly called me that until the day they left this earth. To my children I am pops, or dad and have been called those names since they could talk. I’ve never been called Steve by my children, but their wives many times call me Steve. I am a father-in-law and uncle in law. As I’ve gotten older I become Mr. Sumner (a name my father owned until he died). I considered it a name of respect and so begrudgingly accept the title of Mr. Sumner. When I was working I was the employee or later the boss. They use of my name Steve and Mr. Sumner in accordance with occasion I was present at.
I bring up all these names, titles or hats because even though I am one person I am all of these. I always found it amazing, while listening to the news or working with the police department, the use of different titles when describing a person. I have arrested people for murder only to find out in court that they were:” my son, a dad, a dedicated husband, a person who would give their shirt off their back for you, a mom, a wife, a gentle soul or a good person.” It depended on who you are asking.
I have only mentioned a few of the names or titles that I, like you, possess. Lately, I’m called a disabled veteran, a senior citizen or Pops. Each of the names or titles have a special meaning. Some of them are good, some are uncomfortable, some have no real meaning at all. To the store I am the customer, to the return desk I am a complaining customer. Even though I could say that words do not hurt me I would be lying. I am proud of some of the names and titles and I am saddened by what others call me. When I look at myself I am a man of many names, titles and hats. This old man is glad to be here and I welcome my ability to collect new titles to my life.

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