Silver Days

“Once upon a time those older folks were you. They were busy, they had work, they had children, and they were able. Today, they are just in an older body that is not going as fast as it used to and this busy life is confusing. They deserve our utmost respect and consideration. One day it will be you, it will be us. I wish more people cared more about them and acknowledged them for their admirable existence and jeez I hope someday, not that far away, someone does it for me.” -Adele Barbaro- The Real Mumma

I have often admired the Asian community’s respect for their elders. Their place as the head of families is cemented; their lifelong experiences and wisdom and knowledge of family traditions are sought out; the genuine admiration and love that younger generations have for their older population is something not always seen in America.

Driving home yesterday to the Shenandoah Valley from Richmond, there were temporary electronic signs along I-64 west of Charlottesville before the Crozet exit, and again in the Valley at the Fishersville exit, that said simply in large letters: SENIOR ALERT.

I wondered about the older person who was missing somewhere between Charlottesville and Fishersville with the Blue Ridge Mountains in between. That’s such a large area to get lost in, and last night’s temps were dropping into the freezing range. Would he or she be found? Would they spend the night outdoors alone in the cold and dark?

Who would be waiting for them to return? Children? Grandchildren? Great-grandchildren? Spouse? Neighbors? Friends?

I am not immune to being thoughtless in this department. Assisting a struggling seasoned citizen reach a top-shelf item is incredibly helpful to them and to us. Call it paying it forward. Think of all they’ve done for us over the years – parents, grandparents, sports coaches, teachers, church leaders, and all the leadership roles that adults play in our lives – now is our chance to pay it back.

Mentor young people. They keep you sharp. Love on grandkids. They keep you busy. Help pack boxes at a food pantry. It makes you humble and grateful to have enough. Volunteer. It keeps you moving. Tudor children. It shoves around those brain cells. Live!

I’m left wondering about yesterday’s Senior Alert and if the missing person was safely found. It was so cold last night.

Embrace the silver citizens. One day it will be us … if we are fortunate enough.

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