Monday, August 8, 2011

Old Folks

Just look at the events in our lives. No description to someone who hasn't been there and lived it will ever convey the full experience.

Marty Brandel
How many of you have ever spent several nights sleeping on a hammock in the midst of a jungle? Not too many I suppose. I know I never have. But my friend Marty did and he's back with photographs and experiences to tell about. If you're on Facebook scroll down and check out his pictures, Marty Brandel.

I knew a man who was in the Navy during the Second World War. He was on board a ship in the Pacific Ocean during the famous typhoon. He calls it "a little weather" but to hear him describe the fear and confusion on board, and the fight they had to keep from turning over, it is not an experience I would like to have had.

I remember reading about a woman who was packing up to leave the couple's summer home deep in the forest, her husband having already left. She accidentally tripped and fell down the cellar stairs breaking her hip. She could not climb back up the stairs, and she was pregnant. She gave birth to the child during the cold, dark winter. There was food in the cellar. They both survived. It was before the days of snowmobiles and there was no place for a helicopter to land. So at the first melt her frantic husband drove back in and found his wife alive with a new born baby. She has a story to tell.

There is a prejudice against older people. I have finally begun to experience it myself as I have grown older. It's a stupid prejudice as almost all of them are, and it's based on simple ignorance.

Not too long ago I was standing in line at the supermarket behind a very old lady who was fumbling in her purse for the money to pay for her groceries. In my younger years I would have been impatient and wondered why, since she knew she had to pay something, she didn't get her money out a head of time, instead of waiting until everything was rung up and the total was given. I have since realized that in all probability a little old woman may feel vulnerable and not want to display her money until it was necessary.

The man behind me in line told her harshly to stop fussing and get going. I turned to him and I remember saying "You should live so long. She's an old lady, she's lived a long time and she has a right to dodder if she wants to." Then I turned to her and said "You take your time, sweetheart." She looked up at me, smiled and thanked me.

My own grandmother, who was a difficult but interesting person in her 80's when she told me about how, when she was a youngster, she barely escaped being kidnapped into a prostitution ring. She was a show girl and it was thought that all actresses were loose and available. Another prejudice.

The fact is that people who have achieved some serious decades of life have no doubt faced things and gone through experiences we can only guess at, not having been there when it happened. I have some of my own stories to tell.

Who knows what that ancient lady in the supermarket has seen in her lifetime? How could we ever know what the woman in the cellar went through or the man on the ship?

My friend Marty made it out of the jungle safely. Welcome home Marty. I'm glad King Kong didn't getcha.
DB - The Real Vagabond Journeys
Never give up.


Summer is moving along, people.

It's a long, hot, sticky summer, so here's a hot, sticky question for you. Don't let the recent New York State decision rob you of your thunder.

Same sex marriage. Should it be legal or not? If so, why? If not, why not?

Only 13 answers so far.

You have until the last day of summer, but don't dally.
I eagerly await your answer.



pacifica62 said...

Old folks used to be respected and revered and still are in some cultures....unfortunately not the one I am living in. Doddering old fools, shuffling along, taking too long to get things done and holding up the line.That seems to be the kind of "respect" they get these days.
When I was young I did not have a whole lot of patience for old folks, but the older I get, the more respect I have for them. db you are such a gentleman to tell that lady "you take your time sweetheart". What kind words to say to her. "There but for the grace of God go I" and the truth is we will all become that old lady or old man at the supermarket one day soon. Hopefully there will someone as kind as you behind me in the line.

Arlene (AJ) said...

Another wonderful read DB. Isn't it sad that people seem to have lost respect and patience for everyone nowadays. Whenever I'm out, I always make a point to smile and say hi to everyone, and lucky for me, the folks always respond back in a kind, similar manner. I believe a lot has to do with the way we were raised...showing respect to everyone was what I was taught as a kid and if I didn't, my fun privilege were taken away from me. Nowadays it seems that more people are always in a rush,and so disrespectful of days they'll hopefully realize how unkind they glad I was raised to be friendly, helpful, respectful of others, thankfully I was blessed with good parents.

Big Mark 243 said...

This was simply a cool entry. Marty gets my 'BAMF' of the day notice and you are an BAMF emeritus!

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

As we age, we deserve respect, so take all the time you need!