When I am an old woman, I shall wear orange (and dog hair)
With a boonie hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me
And I shall spend my pension on MREs and rappel gloves
And Danner boots, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m waiting for deployment
And gobble up Gorp on trails and respond to alarms paged
And run my tracking stick along the public pathways
And make up for the selfishness of my youth.
I shall go out in my Gore-tex with my dog in the rain
And leave no trace behind the flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to start a fire using only Doritos.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.
But I will wear orange and dog hair
And eat from the Salvation Army chow wagon
Or pancakes from the Dolores Fire Department
And I’ll hoard compasses and waterproof pencils and matches.
For now we must have parkas that keep us dry
And pay for conferences and not swear in base camp
And set a good example for the children by doing dog and pony shows.
We must have friends to sit around campfires and read after action reports.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and continue to wear orange.
Copyright, all rights reserved, Kimberly R. Kelly, November 4, 2010
With all appropriate nods and gratitude to the 1961 poem, “Warning: When I Am An Old Woman, I Shall Wear Purple” by Jenny Joseph