David Prace just turned 91 in September. He’s slowed down “some,” he admits, but it’s going to take more than nine decades of wear and tear to stop him.
Prace, a longtime resident of Gulf Harbors in New Port Richey, along with his wife, Marjore, 87, kept a full calendar before the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to pull in his horns a bit, they endeavor to stay as active as possible.
“You have to stay busy and have things to look forward to,” said Prace. “We’re out of circulation a little bit now, but I can’t wait until all this (the pandemic) is over and we can get back to the things we love.”
Among those activities is serving on the board of the New Port Richey Friends of the Library group, working as librarians at the Elfers CARES Center and volunteering with the West Pasco Historical Society and history museum.
Until the coast is clear, he said, adding that he’s optimistic that the vaccine eventually will make that happen, he’s focused on household chores, cleaning and minor repairs he can do himself.
“It’s one advantage that we have more time to tend to things that need doing at home,” he said. “We’re starting to get out a little more; we still do our shopping, so we’re not completely homebound.”
Prace said he and Marjore also have resumed their Friday-morning breakfast get-togethers with friends at Christina’s Restaurant on Main Street in downtown New Port Richey.
“We can’t stop everything,” said Prace, who notes that withdrawing too much, even out of caution due to the virus, may not be good. “Everyone has to decide what they are comfortable with; it’s a personal decision.”
Prace’s best advice for people near his age is to find something that keeps their mind engaged. Physical activity is important, but it doesn’t have to be more than walking or regular chores like housecleaning, he thinks. In his case, it’s the mind that really needs exercise.
When he moved to Gulf Harbors 27 years ago, it was to pursue sailing, he said. The couple sailed their 27-foot Catalina “Skrimshaw,” in the Gulf, a hobby they continued until about 10 years ago.
“I realized it was getting too much work for me,” said Prace, adding he sold the boat and began focusing on less physical things to do with his time. “You have to adjust as time goes on.”
Prace said he and Marjore became very socially active and found lots of new friends. They were gathering for book discussions followed by viewings of movies made from the books. They both served as presidents of the Historical Society. The couple even was nominated twice for king and queen of the Casco Fiesta.
“We really enjoy the people we meet and work with,” said Prace, who “can’t wait” to get back to the more active social life the couple had before the virus outbreak.
“So, we’ve been reading a lot and watching more TV, and trying to keep moving when we’re not,” he said. “We’re not getting as much exercise as we would like, but that will change when we start getting out again.”
Prace said he believes in the principal of different strokes for different folks, but he thinks having engaging in some pursuit or another is important as people age.
“We know people who would just prefer to sit back and relax, and that’s their choice,” he said, but sometimes it’s only when someone begins a hobby or activity that “they realize they needed one.”