Editor's note: Retired Daily Pilot columnist Joseph N. Bell has written a special column to mark his 90th birthday, which falls on Independence Day.
As a young boy watching the Fourth of July parade in the county-seat town of Decatur, Ind., the biggest attraction always was a very old man, who shuffled at the head of the parade. I was told he had been a drummer boy and flag carrier in Mr. Lincoln's army.
He had a long gray beard and carried a cane, but I envisioned him as a young and vigorous lad waving his flag and beating his drum atop the carnage at Cemetery Hill in Gettysburg. I felt a special connection to him because my own grandfather had also fought for Mr. Lincoln's Union Army.
I will think of that old man Monday as I celebrate my 90th birthday and our country's Independence Day. Only now I'm the patriarch at the head of the parade, feeling incredulous to have arrived at this mystic age. People have been asking me how it feels to be turning 90, so I thought I'd return to The Bell Curve to share the state of mind, in which I approach the start of my 10th decade on this planet.