Are you old enough to realize that you don’t see things the same way at 40, 60 or 80 as you did when you were 20?

Can you imagine, for example, giving a gun to a man who is 70 or 80 and telling him that because of an oath he took to protect his country, he is going to have to get on an airplane and fly 7,000 miles away to kill people?

Would he ask you if you were crazy?

Advanced age gives one a broader perspective on many things. Over half a million young people died in our very own Civil War. Veterans of that war were still out visiting their old battlefields after I graduated from high school.

When you are over 70 or 80, time and events seem to scramble into a black hole. I recently heard of an aged veteran who was putting on an art show in town. When I went down to see him, I discovered he was the son of one of my first playmates.

At the age of 14, I paid $43 for a Ford that was 18 years old. Back then, cars 15 or 20 years old were ancient and could be bought for $30 or $40. My wife has a Rav 4 that is 19 years old, but it doesn’t seem old to me because we bought it new.

The Model T I’ve driven for 67 years was 32 years old when I paid $10 for it. At the time it was considered a very old car. But now the Mercedes I bought in 1974 is 44 years old and, to my jaundiced eye, is still new. It still looks like what the ideal automobile should look like.

Old is only old in the eye of the beholder. My pickup truck was assembled in 1991. Last year I picked up a kid who was hitchhiking to Rockland. He looked over the interior with an admiring eye and said, “Wow. We don’t see many of these around anymore.”

I don’t think of it as being an old truck. It is simply the truck that used to take me to speaking gigs in Vermont and now is primarily used to haul stuff to and from the town dump.

Even the dump has changed. Instead of a haven where seagulls and rats once frolicked happily among mountains of rotting lobster bodies, it is now called a recycling center and ReVision’s several dozen solar panels on the roof are saving St. George taxpayers thousands of dollars.

An old-timer in Port Clyde is one who can remember a first date as an opportunity to take a girl up to the town dump to shoot rats. Those of us who are older than that used to lug our trash and garbage down to the edge of the back lawn and throw it over a stone wall into the woods. We didn’t know about a town dump, if there even was one. Although the history of Maine town dumps has yet to be written, you can be sure that it will sell well.

When I was a kid, a dump was a magical place filled with wonderful things. Every home had one. Like ours, they were not far from the house and in the woods only a few steps away from the edge of the backyard. Although most old metal was hauled out of town during the war, there were still a couple of glorious dumps adorned by entire car bodies – probably Whippets or Oaklands from the early 1920s.

Do remember that no one in town had a television set, and my parents didn’t even have a telephone. There was not much for a little kid to do but roam the neighborhood for a half mile in all directions and climb 70-foot spruce trees. Scraped knees were common, but no one talked about obesity.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to know what old-timers will pass along to their grandchildren by the end of this century? Millions of them will tell how their parents either sold their oceanfront homes and moved to high ground – or collected insurance and rebuilt every time they washed away.

Perhaps one or two will boast that, after paying a $200,000 membership fee, their grandparents attended the most famous golf club Christmas party of the century. They could admit to being there because the invitation read: “You don’t have to be indicted to be invited.”

The humble Farmer can be heard Friday nights at 7 on WHPW (97.3 FM) and visited at his website:

www.thehumblefarmer.com/MainePrivateRadio.html