In my younger days, conversations with my mother centered around her health, and what she ate that day and recent days. I remember her drawing-out descriptions, such as “a little ham and some black-eyed peasssss.” Black-eyed peas regularly made the list — always topped with hot-pepper sauce … always. You can’t have black-eyed peas in the South without sprinkling on top vinegar soaked in spicy peppers.

She told me about her aches and pains, and the illnesses of our relatives. She worked as a nurse. Her only hobby was gardening, her friendships few outside of family, so I chalked up these “boring” conversations to the caring and hard work she performed five days a week.

Having lunch today with a friend my age, I noted toward the end of our pleasant time on the deck of a local restaurant that we had discussed food a bit and a few other things. But our primary discussion consisted of the aches and pains, diagnoses and treatments of our physical challenges, including a similar one in our left wrists.

Today, I asked her about a particular medical issue and she said she set that aside until she deals with a bigger health issue. I said, “Me, too.”

We never worked in health fields. Our worlds include many friends and many different interests and hobbies.

We remembered being shocked that we would turn 42 (that old) in the year 2000. We laughed about how close we are to 60 now and tried to wrap our minds around it.

My mother’s “boring” talks taught me about patience with the “elderly.” She was about my age now. What I would give to listen to her talk about her health today. She’s been gone now 16 years.