Wise Old Folks

A drawing of an older man wearing a hat

Last Sunday night my son flew in from western Tennessee to spend a few days with his sister and me.   He couldn’t stay very long so we packed as much quality time as we could into our time together.    The last time he and I were together was last November.  It had been much longer for him and his sister.   I returned him to the Norfolk airport late Tuesday afternoon and he flew off to that faraway place in  he calls home.   My daughter and I were sad to see him leave so soon, but he left promising we would see him again before too long.  Personally, I’m holding him to that promise.

I received a lot of feedback on my report of our Amish adventure last week.    A lot of you told me you have either, visited the Amish Country, or lived amongst them for awhile.   All of your stories were interesting and I was amazed at the details in your recollections.    The simplicity of the Amish life, I believe, is what garners our attention.   With all the gadgets and hustle & bustle in our lives, we admire a culture that refuses to believe that the winners in life are those that die with the most toys.   Occasionally, I write something in this missive that generates feedback.  To date, the biggest feedback by far has been the Amish thing.    I appreciate the time you take to read my ramblings.  In return, I hope that I write something of interest to you and, hopefully, give you a different perspective on some things.

As most of you know, last Sunday was Grandparents day.  Jerilyn has two grandsons by a previous marriage and I have three granddaughters and two great granddaughters by a previous marriage.  Her grandsons live locally and my granddaughters live in faraway places in Tennessee.   Jerilyn’s oldest grandson, Christopher, came over to see his Grandmother on Sunday and brought her a gift and a card (his younger brother, Brandon, was sick).   And, to my surprise, I was included in their celebration of Grandparents Day.   I was included in their card and presented with a gift.  I was honored that they chose to include me.   I hope Christopher left knowing the inclusion was appreciated.  Sometimes, when families are united because a divorced parent remarries, special occasions can be a little tense.   Christopher and Brandon solved that problem so easily.  We older folks should be so wise.

My next door neighbor, John, is a fellow retiree and really nice guy.  Occasionally, during the course of a week, we have the opportunity to meet on that small strip of grass separating our homes.   Many years ago, women were often shown gossiping over the clothesline.   Well, John and I are able to resolve personal and world problems standing on that little grassy knoll.   Jerilyn and I spend a lot of time together, but, there are times when it is good to have a man to man conversation.  Men like to talk about fixing things, cars, tools, sports, finance and such.  Women, in my humble opinion, strongly dislike those subjects and avoid them like the plague.   John definitely fills a vacuum in my daily existence.   Sometimes, he and his wife leave on vacation for several weeks.    When they return, the conversations on the grassy knoll get longer for a week or so.

I have a very special uncle back home (Claude) that leaves his house each morning, goes to the local restaurant for breakfast with his buddies, then leaves there and walks over to the barbershop to read the newspaper and converse with the barber and his customers.   Uncle Claude knows the value of having a network of friends in his daily life.  I wonder how many of us spend the day watching TV, listening to the radio, or doing chores, and fail to create a network of friends to spend time with.   In my opinion, a good conversation with a friend is better than any TV show.   Many times we feel alone, missing out on the joys of life.   I believe some variation of Uncle Claude’s daily schedule is a good template for all of us.   Unfortunately, my barber is female.   I just blew the heck out of that theory!

I hope you’re enjoying your summer, or whatever season it is in your part of the world


“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is

because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”

James Baldwin