Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Art of Chivalry

The speaking engagement last night went great! It wasn't a large group - about twenty senior citizens, or so, but they were all so gracious and polite.

The gentleman who asked me to speak was a gentleman in every sense of the word. When I arrived, he was waiting for me at the front entrance of the building. He kindly escorted me inside, held my chair out for me to sit at the table, and then politely introduced me to all of the others at the table. After eating, giving my speech, and talking a bit more, it was time to leave and he escorted me to the front door, shook my hand, and said what a pleasure it was to meet me.

He was a marine in the Pacific Theater during World War II, a junior high history teacher for 30 years, and he loves the Wizard of Oz. He lost his wife about 2 1/2 years ago, and I could tell that he still missed her dearly.

I want to go back and have coffee with him, sit and listen to his stories, sit and just talk about anything. I think we have relegated senior citizens to the side of our society simply because they are not "young" anymore. It's a shame. I would much rather sit in a room of senior citizens and visit then I would with a group of my own age. Maybe I'm weird for that, but that's how I feel.

The article I referenced yesterday (which was rather long, but well worth the read) talked about how we, as a society, have become obsessed with being young. We do everything in our power to stay young - plastic surgery, pills, diets, clothing, etc. But there is a certain dignity in getting older - maturity, wisdom, and responsibility must be had at some point in our lives. Why do we fight it? I suppose there is a natural tendency to want to stave old age off for as long as possible.

What do you think?

11 comments:

  1. I'm not sure why we fear old age. I do know that I'm liking older people more and more as I grow older myself. I agree with you that we don't give our elders the respect they deserve. I think we forget that they, too, led full and interesting lives with their own trials, tribulations, and opinions of others.

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  2. Ya Ya Sisterhood book is good example.

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  3. I totally agree with you, Melissa. I think people who've lived longer than us have a lot of wisdom to share. The only thing I fear about getting older is losing my mobility. I work out and eat healthy to delay this as much as possible. :-)

    I'm glad your speech went well. The older gentleman sounds delightful. I'm sure you would be surprised at the stories he tells. I agree that you should go back. :-)

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  4. I think you're right, Melissa. Sr. citizens have such stories to tell and we tend to not take time to listen. I wish I'd written down (and listened more carefully) to my grandma's stories.

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  5. Well, I'd comment on it but I'm late for my botox injections. *g*

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  6. I love visiting with senior citizens. Their stories are so amazing. :) Sounds like you did a great job!

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  7. I don't think we're any more obsessed than other generations, there's just more available now. In the past traveling medicine shows would sell tonics for "rejuvenation", etc. One of the reasons that women wore bonnets and carried parasols (sp?) was to keep the sun off them because they knew that it caused wrinkles. The lament of growing old pops up in poems,etc. all through the ages. Creams and machines have been the rage for years.

    I knew what you were going to say just by the title and first sentence of your post. That's a sign of that generation, a lost part of "etiquette". I agree whole-heartedly about the senior citizens. My nephews and nieces haven't been to visit their grandmother this year at all. And the only time they saw her last year was at a few holidays - they just don't "have the time". Funny, she always had the time for her. And they don't live that far away (1/2 hour at the most). Please take a tape recorder the next time you visit that gentleman.

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  8. I love old people. Miss my grandad like crazy. Maybe it isn't youth people are clinging too, it is fear of death.

    The biggest regret I have about emergrating is my kids barely seeing their grandparents. Sounds like you had a nice meeting!!

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  9. I want to stave off the effects of old age on the body for as long as possible so I can last as long as possible. I plan on pushing the limits of old age as far as I can so I can enjoy it as long as I can. But the idea of going under the knife, I've never been able to figure out what that achieves. You never look younger, just tighter. Caught in a wind tunnel tighter. It doesn't make you healthier, it doesn't help you live longer. I say bring on the wisdom and the wrinkles.

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  11. Appreciated your thoughts. Thanks and visit us at Seniors

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