Funny thing about time. It seems to only go in one direction. Time stops for no one and no matter how hard you kick it, it just won't go back. If you are reading this one thing is for certain. You are not getting any younger, which leads, of course, into tonight's topic: the graying of Ashland.




When I was a kid it took a week for a single day at school to pass. It was fortunate that I did not then yet shave, for it would have required a backpack of razor blades to make it to lunchtime. The last hour of class sorely tested the single direction of time, as it seemed that the wall clock actually stopped for hours at a time and, if you didn't blink, you could see it backtrack with the speed of a cowboy's bullwhip.




Now, I readily admit that many attempt to slow down the appearance of time's inexorable march through exercise, moisturizers, special diets, super supplements, sunless tans and many types and degrees of medical procedures. Despite all the valiant attempts, the most successful warrior against the ravages of time is a well-developed sense of humor and a ready laugh. If, by now, you are sporting a smile, if not a smirk, you are causing wrinkles, not on your body, but in the space/time continuum. I am not saying that a fit of hysteria will create a black hole in space, but, all the same, I usually back away at least six feet from someone fully possessed by overwhelming mirth.




Two distinct, yet interwoven and complimentary, forces are at work in Ashland to see if only we open our eyes.




The first is that not only are we all aging, but our demographic ages faster than us individually, as our small berg becomes a twinkle in the eye of the newly and affluently retired. Yet despite our best efforts at some point the passage of time demands acknowledgement and respect, lest we instantly stop aging, if you get my drift.




All of these Ashland Elders grew up dating, going to work, vacationing and passing their daily lives hand in hand with the automobile. Gas was cheap, resources seemingly infinite and life easily reduced to good/bad, black and white. While we might yearn to return to such simple times, it flat ain't gonna' happen. Surprisingly, one common element blends the '50s with today's trepidation and begrudging acknowledgement of the impact of people upon the weather and ultimately the very survival of mankind: the electric golf cart.




In many people's minds the quintessential retirement includes playing golf, hopefully with the aid and convenience of a golf cart that moves quickly and quietly around the links while (pay attention here) leaving a small carbon footprint. For the moment let us suspend inquiry into the vast amount of petrochemicals required to maintain the monstrous aberration that we currently term a golf course and focus on how to move people efficiently around town shopping and running errands.




At some point in each of our lives our driver's licenses will be revoked due to our slower reaction times and other age-related maladies. In a densely packed urban area stewing in a broth of richly seasoned public transportation being without a car can actually be a benefit. Yet, here in Ashland, getting around requires adaptive thought put to practical use. Bicycles are great if you still have good balance but for an elderly couple or anyone who wants to tread more lightly on the planet, a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV), is practical and does not require a driver's license to operate.




It its simplest form, this speed limited (25 to 35 mph) battery electric vehicle most nearly resembles an electric golf cart. To satisfy requirements for operation on streets, NEVs are equipped with three-point seat belts, windshields and windshield wipers, running lights, headlights, brake lights, reflectors, rear view mirrors, and turn signals. Doors and impact resistant beams are optional. Roll bars are included and most seat four passengers.




It's never too early to plan for the future, so as spring brings unfolding buds portending rebirth, you'll find me on the links, test driving my future NEV and a few golf balls.