When do you put a racehorse out to pasture ‘in grand style’? When he cannot keep up the fast pace? And to think these days, they are the lucky ones! The really lucky ones are the ones that don’t get put ‘out’ but are allowed to continue to be useful in teaching the little children all about horses.
Old dogs bring smiles to anyone who has ever had one. But there are fewer old dogs…the main reason, “it doesn’t fit my lifestyle anymore’. But a wise owner knows that loyalty swings both ways. And a smart dog owner knows the value of the ‘old dog‘. Just think of all that you went through with the first puppy. Phew! I’m exhausted just thinking about it. But, when I had an old dog and got a puppy, wow!! That little stinker learned all the basics in half the time just from watching the ‘old dog‘.
If slower horses and old dogs can still serve…how much more can the old folk when given the chance? A crown of glory now easily worn. Clouded eyes that have seen so much. Weathered skin proudly worn, telling the time of been there, done that then. They carry all the signs of wisdom with them. And yet, we pass them by!?
In the days forgotten, you’ll read of old men living not a hundred years old, but hundredS of years old. Yes, now I’m sure a healthier environment and food played a good part of this. But I’m equally sure that they didn’t just sit around in quiet forgetfulness. They grew old actively. They taught, keeping their minds working and fresh. They worked physically what they were able, not what they were ‘allowed’. They were sought out for the ‘how to do this or that’. They felt needed and they had a purpose. They were alive J
‘As we grow old, the beauty steals inward.’
~Ralph Waldo Emerson ~
‘Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.’
~ Sophia Loren ~
‘I don’t believe one grows older. I think that what happens early on in life is that at a certain age one stands still and stagnates.’ ~T.S. Eliot ~
‘We’ve put more effort into helping folks reach old age than into helping them enjoy it.’ ~Frank A. Clark ~
The quotes above suggest that it’s been an awfully long time since we have seen our old folk with the intention to learn beauty and wisdom that is hidden within. Beauty reflects in the eyes is so true. Have you ever seen an elderly person with clouded eyes all of sudden come to life just because someone asked them a question? Oh I have! And it sends my heart skipping to see life come back! So that begs the question…Did the old folk really forget, or did we forget to ask them the questions?
If old horses can teach children about horses. If old dogs can cut our work in half and teach puppies. If the hoary head is a crown of glory, then shouldn’t we rise up and honour the old folk in keeping them healthy in body and mind. Giving them opportunities to live again and share with us and our children all that they had lived for. Wouldn’t that be protecting our wisdom?
How did the old folk get so quiet, I had wondered recently. Then I realized they didn’t do it willingly. Our fast pace, microwave, anyone who can’t keep up gets left behind society, has pushed them into silence. How sad is that! We’ve cut off our very own resource for wisdom that was learned through experience. Why, because they are not new, or fresh? They don’t fit our life-style? We have given up on experienced, maturity, and values to have a quick thrill, in a throw away society.
The song below is my one of my dad’s favourites. At first I thought it was a very sweet song, but then I realized that it is a very sad song. I asked my dad why did he like this song? His reply surprised me. “Because I can relate to it, he said.” Oh my heart grieved when he said that. “That’s it! Just old dogs and children and watermelon wine is all that we’ll be left with! I thought with alarm.”
‘How old do you think I am? he said.
I said, well, I didn’t know.
He said, I turned 65 about 11 months ago.
I was sittin in miami pourin blended whiskey down
When this old gray black gentleman was cleanin up the lounge
There wasn’t anyone around cept this old man and me
The guy who ran the bar was watchin ironside on tv
Uninvited, he sat down and opened up his mind
On old dogs and children and watermelon wine
Ever had a drink of watermelon wine? he asked
He told me all about it, though I didn’t answer back
Aint but three things in this world that’s worth a solitary dime,
But old dogs and children and watermelon wine.
He said, women think about they-selves, when menfolk aint around.
And friends are hard to find when they discover that you’re down.
He said, I tried it all when I was young and in my natural prime;
Now it’s old dogs and children and watermelon wine.
Old dogs care about you even when you make mistakes;
God bless little children while they’re still too young to hate.
When he moved away I found my pen and copied down that line
Bout old dogs and children and watermelon wine.
I had to catch a plane up to atlanta that next day
As I left for my room I saw him pickin up my change
That night I dreamed in peaceful sleep of shady summertime
Of old dogs and children and watermelon wine.’
Old Dogs and Children and Watermelon Wine
~ Lyrics sung by Tom T. Hall ~
Oh no! There’s got to be so much more than that I thought! Families must stick together for as long as they can. They are a team building castles. Everyone has a part to do. There is nothing wrong with getting the help they need when we cannot provide the need. This in itself is helping them. BUT, you don’t just get rid of horses that can’t keep the fast pace. You don’t just get rid of old dogs because they don’t fit your lifestyle and you don’t shut up old folk!
Awww sure, I know, there’s mean old dogs, and wild tempered old horses. And sure old folk can try your patience to know end. LOL I know that! They too can be both mean old dogs and wild tempered old horses that can’t keep the pace. And I understand that today’s time have ‘old age’ diseases. Some of our old folk need extra special care by some health care professionals. But shutting them up and putting them away, that shouldn’t be used just because they can’t keep up! They can keep up in so many other ways that we haven’t even asked about yet. A wise man once told me, “whatever you do, don’t stop talking to your children. They might shut off their ears, but they can’t stop hearing.” I listened to that advice and took it to heart and put it to action. I have even recently discovered that it works with old folk too. I might have to speak up for them to hear me, but oh when they get telling of the loves of their hearts and the trick of the trades and the adventures they lived through history. Wow! You can share their lives like a Hollywood motion picture! And it didn’t cost you a dime! The smiles that can be shared and the things you can accomplish because you listened. And you know what? Even mean old dogs can be taught to trust and wild tempered old horses are only displaying fear of the uncertainity of you. If WE remember to ask the questions and listen. If we keep building loyalty and working together we can change the song of sadness to one of love. SO THEY WILL SING A NEW SONG.
‘If a blind man can see the beauty that is within, then why is it that people with sight are too blind to see it?’ ~Author Unknown~
‘The years teach much which the days never knew.’ ~Ralph Waldo Emerson~
‘Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on Simplicity.’
~ Plato ~
‘Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.’
~ Franz Kafka ~
In honour of my dad who gave me a ponder through a sad song. In honour to the old folk who taught me some old ways not forgotten. There are some still here who see you and need you. Though I am getting my many wrinkles and the hair dye can’t keep up, I will do my best not to shut up.
(C) Mammy Oaklee