By Anna Tailleur
“One foot in front of the other, all the time,” Kenneth Roberts, 80, says while drinking a complementary cup of coffee and talking with friends at the Greene County YMCA.
He wears a matching tracksuit and bright blue headphones. It takes him a minute to realize the buds are still in his ears as he sits in front of the video camera for an interview — a true YMCA representative, of which no one enters without headphones already in head.
Kenneth loves to be active. When he was younger he would jog 10-12 miles around the Alcove Reservoir, most days. At 21, he joined the army, served for a few years, then got a job as a truck driver, where he stayed for 33 years. “Been on the road almost all my life,” he says.
When Kenneth retired, at 62, he needed a new hobby — to keep him placing one foot in front of the other — and a social group, preferably one with high tolerance for heated political discussion.
When Kenneth found the Y, he had no idea the impact it would have on him. The facility granted him the ability to come nearly all hours of the day to exercise, socialize, drink coffee and talk politics. “It’s a beautiful place, really,” he says.
A normal Y day for Kenneth consists of one hour of cardio and two hours of relaxation, coffee drinking and politic spewing.
He says the atmosphere is what does it for him. Fifty percent of the Y experience is social, he even prefers it to drinking at the bar with buddies. “It’s much healthier,” he says.
“I do babble, though,” he warns. But it’s okay, as long as every friendly discussion ends with, “But that’s only my opinion,” no feelings with be hurt, according to Kenneth.
“I probably shouldn’t say who I’m voting for,” he says. “Let’s just say it’s not ______!”
“But that’s only my opinion!”
Because of the Y, Kenneth has a safe place to stay active, make friends and be himself.