“If you sit down, you’ll never get up.”

– Winston Parkinson

I’ve been down in Houston for the past few days as part of a family “Men’s Trip” for Father’s Day to see my 91-year old grandfather, Winston, compete in the Senior Olympics. He won the national gold medal in archery for his age group, 91-94.

He told me, “See I don’t have any competition so I gotta have some sort of goal– I wanna beat the world record.” And of course he did that by a long shot. In fact, he beat the world record on the first day, considering the final score is your total score from two days of shooting.

It’s true, he didn’t have any competition. There aren’t that many 91 year old archers in the US, but he’s still going strong. He leaned over and shouted in my ear in between rounds (he’s hard of hearing), “You see Jay, If you sit down you’ll never get up.”

This is health.

He was, and still is, one of the most active, curious, people I’ve ever met. That’s the secret to health and longevity– always do things, always stimulate your mind, always make things, and always find new passions. I’ll always remember that. Winston is one of a kind.

He’s been an archer for over 70 years and has a few hunting world records. Here’s the game room I grew up with visiting him over the summers in Arkansas as a kid. I have one of the javelinas in my bedroom in Brooklyn. All of these were shot with a bow and arrow:

He’s the very picture of health. He, and the other Senior Olympians, are what we should all aspire to be. They never sit down, for they may never get up.

And don’t forget to click on the photo of my gramps above and watch the video. Also, I wrote this about him a few years back:

He turned orange once from eating 5 pounds of carrots a day for a few months.  He shoots his bow in his trailer (he stands at the front door and aims for the target in the back bedroom just over my grandma’s chair). He shot a bear through the heart with an arrow and saved it’s heart in formaldehyde for years.  He’s 85 and climbed a tree a few weeks ago and shot a doe.  I don’t think he’s ever bought meat in his life.  He makes the meanest fish fry on the banks of the White River in Arkansas anyone’s ever had.  He guided for Eddie Rabbit on the White River before the booze stole Eddie from god’s green earth.  And he took me out in the woods when i was a kid to teach me how to live off the land just in case of nuclear attack…

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