BY LYNN HANRAHAN
Over breakfast some Ed Sheeran song on the radio led to a conversation on whether the young had anything worthwhile to learn from the old. My 16-year old said no one over 30 ever said any of value and her 18-year old sister agreed. They giggled.
It was a true nadir in parenting. I knew I had gone wrong somewhere but was too tired to consider where. We were in the Alps in the big old house which had belonged to their grandparents. Their last remaining grandparent, the Oma, had passed not long before.
After the trip my youngest had the good fortune to take over her brother’s gardening business. He had taken the Master Gardeners course at the local Cooperative Extension Service when he was a young teen and had begun working for some local seniors who were not quite able to do all their own work anymore.
Gardening as a metaphor for life. Both kids learned so much from these local seniors — more than I could ever teach. They are always in touch even when away at college. One lady sends my daughter green chile because she knows how much she misses it being far away from home.
I couldn’t help asking my youngest recently if she still believed the young had nothing to learn from the old — she doesn’t. The kids experience with local seniors has been wonderful.
The seniors they have known have been the utter antithesis to seniors portrayed in local media — money grubbing misers counting their pennies while refusing to fund county projects. Think of all the letters to the editors in recent years with their snide allusions to elders who would rather try to take their riches with them than fund the Leisure Lagoon, a flow trail, or whatever the latest improvement requires.
Enough already. Would local papers really print nasty remarks based on someone’s race or gender? It’s somehow alright to indulge in grotesque ageist comments though? No, it isn’t. With another election season at hand could we perhaps move beyond this?
I was thinking about which outdoor pool to join this year when I couldn’t help but remember during the 2020 season the pool closest to us allowed comments on their Facebook page horribly insulting to the pool’s elders questioning the wisdom of operating during a pandemic. Comments saying these members were probably the same old cheapskates who voted against local bonds were allowed by the board. We will go to a different pool despite the drive.
As a county it might be time to respect our elders. They have probably suffered the most during the Pandemic years. I will always miss Casa Mesita’s Mr. Fox who we lost to Covid, among others. He taught me everything I know about furniture refinishing. We all have so much to learn. Must we diminish those old-timers who have so much to give?