Official Announcement: I’ve Entered My Dotage

Yes, it is true. I will not deny it; I am officially a doddering old man in his dotage. Have you ever heard that word – dotage – or that phrase?  It came across my radar when reading the book John Adams by David McCullogh. Adams used the phrase all the time to describe failing old men – an ability at which he excelled beyond all his peers, living to the age of almost 91 (as Thomas Jefferson uttered his last words – dying the same day – “Adams survives.”)

The word dotage means “a decline of mental faculties, especially as associated with old age; senility.”

Yep, as if I likely need to prove this to any of you who know me, here is proof of my decline – evidenced by how I spent my afternoon on Wednesday of my vacation week…

I thought I would drive down into West Virginia to view some of the Civil War Trails historic markers of varied sites that are not commonly a part of the major incidents of the War. I’m always trying to learn new things and also gain more material for my Civil War blog ( … check it out if you’ve never seen it!).

So, I’m at a fairly remote location and came upon a marker at a spot where there honestly was not much to see other than the marker itself – the historic stuff no longer is standing at that location. Well, I read the marker, took a few pictures of it for later reference, and went to get back in the car.




What to do??  Among options I considered was finding a large rock to break the window! But down the country road I saw a home and thought I’d at least walk toward it. There was fellow outside to whom I told my sad tale of woe. He actually recognized me as a Williamsport coach, as he has a son who is a distance runner for Hedgesville High School. He had a cell phone on him, and I began to call my various progeny to come rescue me. However, one was in Ocean City, another was at work in Carlisle, and a third did not answer his phone. Caleb is the guy I really needed, but, since his phone number is “in my phone” which was “in the locked car,” I could not call him. Eric Boutieller (my Student Ministries Pastor) was fortunately at church, and I was able to call him there … “Eric, could you give me my son’s phone number?”  So, after about 30-40 minutes, Caleb arrived to rescue me.

OK… here is my excuse … old people make excuses for their behavior … like my 90-year-old mother did when she was robbed by a roving band of Gypsies (not making this up – just reporting what happened) who talked her out of her house to discuss home repairs, while a group of them stole a bunch of money and broke into a safe she had in the house!  When I said to her, “Mom, this is why you probably should not be living alone anymore at age 90,” her answer to me was, “Well, now that this has happened, I’ll know to not do that again!”

OK… where was I? … why did I write that story???  OH, ok, I was going to give you my excuse for locking myself out of a running car.

Here’s the story: It is a new-to-us car – the newest and nicest car we have ever owned. It is a 2002 Cavalier with only 53,000 miles on it. You see, we’re not really too “into” cars. But I really, really do still want to have a BMW or Benz – not a big thing, mind you. Just like a 325 series or a small 230 Mercedes – something like that.

Oh… I got sidetracked again with another story… sorry …

Notice the tiny little locking thinger!

So, this new car, for which I’m very thankful having had it given to us by my brother-in-law after my sister passed away … well … it does have a stupid feature – in my estimation. The door locking mechanism is not a vertical thing on the handle like in our Toyota cars. No, it is a horizontal latch connected to the door opening latch, and all you need to do it bump against it getting out of the car, and it goes into a locked position. I guess that is what I did … probably bumped it because of my dotage-infested aching knees that make every car-exiting experience the worst moment of any day.

So that’s my excuse; it could happen to anyone at any age, right??

7 thoughts on “Official Announcement: I’ve Entered My Dotage

  1. While in your ‘dottage’ you also I believe posted the wrong name:

    (as Jefferson Davis uttered his last words – dying the same day – “Adams survives.”)

    Thomas Jefferson?

    • Ah… haha… Nathan… you are the first to catch that little thing, just to see if anyone was reading it carefully … yes, that’s the ticket! Ah… maybe I’m too immersed in the Civil War right now?? Yep – that’s the reason for that little slip!

      Uh, oh boy … pick a nice room for me at Somerford, OK? Doot, doot, doo-doo-doo-doot!

  2. Given that every year on July 4, my friend Greg and I remind each other that Adams (him) and Jefferson (me) died in the same day, I would have caught that, too. And if you want to feel better ask me about what some of the loonier European monarchs did in THEIR dotages.

    And I reiterate that you are not entering your dotage. It’s just not been your week.

  3. Randy, Just a thought about who said who survived, Jan and I just watched the HBO mini-series based on David McCullogh’s book on “John Adams” and they have Adams saying, “Jefferson survives”. Unless, I’m making a mistake because I’m getting there too at age 60.

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