Monday, April 7, 2014

I Like Old People

I know there are many who are uncomfortable with old people, even though we're all inching closer and closer to that age. They say they're unfocused, can be grumpy, want to do what they want to do when they want to do it, are apt to fall asleep at any moment, and they smell funny.  I could be describing myself, so maybe that's why I like them, just kidding, a little bit.

Maybe it's because I'm an only child who was dragged along to everything.  It's easy to drag one kid along, and it works.  That's the real reason only children are precocious.  They've seen it all, but they're at the same time kind of invisible.  Adults ease up around them, don't even see them after a brief introduction, start drinking their drinks, using bad words, gossiping about the neighbors.  I had a blast playing with my Barbies close by to the card games my mom and her friends had, half listening, then falling asleep on the couch.  Maybe it was the close relationship I had with my grandma that makes me like old people. The fuzzy Velamints in the bottom of her purse, the running upstairs to grab her "good" lipstick to go out, the scent of Channel #5 only used for grown up events, feeling someone lean over and whisper softly "I know her husband's name, but what is hers again" and whispering the answer back, having a hand in the crook of my arm while crossing the street, I'm comfortable with it. I get old people, and I love their stories.

Brett's got a school assignment where he's got to interview someone who lived during the Great Depression (they may want to rethink this assignment, as those individuals are fewer and farther between). Luckily, we've got at church a former educator who loves kids, runs our community spelling bee, and is 86 years old.  Brett asked to interview him, and he will next week.  The great thing is, it got us to talking about things in the past. I knew the stories my grandma told me about the Depression, and he talked about being 17 and having to use ration coupons at the grocery store. That got us to talking about how making meals, making things stretch, was a lost art. He talked about the can of bacon grease that still sits on his stove. It's weird, but things like that, memories of my grandparents' home, make me tear up.

I had the best 20 minutes just talking with him the other day, and I can't wait until Brett actually interviews him for the project.  Yeah, they may be grumpy sometimes, but I'm grumpy too.  I say go listen to an old person. They're better than just about anything.

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