Dylan cartoon

We’re Younger Than That Now

by Chris Cooper


It’s 5.00 am here. As I’ve gotten older my lifelong problem of insomnia has increased. These days I’m often awake till 2 am and nearly always up by 6. No matter what I do it doesn’t seem to make much difference. So eventually I stopped fighting it and started looking at ways to fill that time slot. It’s often when I do most of my reading, and sometimes some of my writing. Like now. 

And as with my insomnia I guess I have learnt to compromise more with various issues. Sometimes it’s all you can do.  I think I started out trying to change things, then, when I felt I was not making that much headway I endeavored just to keep up. As I have gotten (hopefully) wiser I have decided that keeping up is only valid if its what I want, that is, if I no longer want the prize, I have ceased to enter the competition. I like to think it helps me be more useful to myself and those I care about. But hey, let’s not get to metaphysical here. 

John, I received your letter yesterday. No, it wasn’t a surprise. Like you say we have talked about this quite  a bit, and whilst I wouldn’t say I necessarily am pleased I understand your decision. There are  a number of this group like us who are now the other side of 50 and you start, I think, to get a little more, dare I say, selfish with your time. I think you become aware that there is less in front than behind and you want to make the most of what you have. So like my insomnia,  I accept your decision, Maybe for once, I even understand it. 

FW is a way of life now for a lot of us, but non so more than JRS. If anyone is “Mister Freewheelin’” its John. All those mags he’s put together, all those trips to the post office. The time, and cost involved has been borne selflessly and in silence. So lets just applaud him once.   (sound of one hand clapping) It is a testament to his dedication that we have survived for so long. We are I believe the longest running “Dylan Organization” in the world?  Without John to monitor the standards and at times pull us along I believe FW would have vanished many years ago. 

When we devised this monster, twenty years (!) ago I certainly wasn’t thinking beyond the next twelve months. We went thru many highs and lows and I don’t really want to list them all here. Some are too painful. Some are too old or too recent. Either way I recognize that it is time we all moved on. It feels right to me as I am now less than a month away from saying goodbye to the NHS.  So I guess closure now seems more appropriate to me at least. If you have only been on board a short time I apologise, there is much you missed, there is much that you have helped with also.  But John’s thinking, I imagine,  that it feels like we are retracing our steps now some, and maybe it’s just the right time for him also. He’ll almost certainly contradict me here (he usually does!). 

John and I are involved in a great many other Bob-activities and these will continue I feel sure, not because they are in any way more important, just more immediate. And I know we shall continue as friends, though the days when he used to sneak round on a Friday so we could struggle over some indistinct lyrics to some obscure song are long gone eh? 

So can I suggest we try to contribute to these last few issues, and enjoy what we have, whilst its there. I for one will look back in pride at all that we have done. It has been a major part of my life for a long time, and yes, I will miss it. But it’s time to move on. 

Till  Next Time..

John Stokes

Ah but I was so much older then

John Stokes and Chris Cooper

We’re younger than that now!