Older Than Dirt

I love old people.  I happen to know I like them more than most.  My life has been full of many people that my dad likes to call “Older than dirt!”  My dad’s dad lived with us for the last 8 years of his life.  I watched my parents make sacrifices for him that other people would have never been able to handle.  We called him Grandpa Ed.  He was as ornry as they get.

Ed taught me a few things.  He couldn’t walk or talk just right after a bad stroke, so if you were going to spend time with him, you had to do it in his space.  He was an old fashioned guy.  That’s the only nice way to say it.  If you saw Clint Eastwood’s portrayal of a bigoted, scarred war veteran who didn’t know how to love his family….then you know, that was Grandpa Ed.  So who would like such a crazy old dude?

Well, me. I snuck the old diabetic candy bars and he didn’t tell my mom and dad when I came home a little late. We had an unspoken relationship only he and I understood.   His storytelling taught me about WWII. His discomfort with other races put a mirror up to it for me.  I couldn’t relate, but I knew I never wanted to feel that way about anyone because of the country they came from or the color of their skin.  I also learned there was a difference between his head and his heart.  I’d like to think his light brown-skinned grand-daughter helped him realize love came in all colors.  I do know he was proud of me.  He told me so, the day before he died.  He told me he was scared, and he told me that he loved me, and thanked me for being there for him.

As I sat at the Hollywood American Legion last night visiting and paying respect to some really old people, I realized that so many of these men and women don’t have anyone to talk to.  They rarely interact with youth, and my family showing up to the Legion means the world to them.  We listen, talk, make friends and get involved.  My daughter likes it so much now, she will go without me.  She has learned patience and compassion for some of these old folk, will engage in conversation and even share her baby brother with them.

Some elderly folk are really tough to handle.  They are stuck in their ways, they act like toddlers,  and they often treat their own children poorly.  They can say judgmental things and rarely worry about hurting your feelings.  For me, I choose to accept this as a part of their journey in life.  They got this far, didn’t they?  I think there is amazing things to learn and understand from spending some time with the over 80 crowd.  If you don’t believe me…try it.  The way I see it, what goes around comes around, and one day I’m going to be older than dirt.  I hope there are some sweet kids around that care.


1 Comment

  1. Shannon said,

    February 4, 2010 at 12:25 am

    I’m there, lets go.

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