Archive for April, 2007

Old Revered?

Sunday, April 22nd, 2007

“The ancient one has spoken” quote the man with the speaking stick. And the people around the campfire sat in awe of the wisdom in the words. Such was the attitude of early peoples toward the elders who had lived long and would repeat verbally the history from which they learned and prospered.

Those were the days before words could be written and stored and reread by following generations. Hundreds of thousands of years later there came industrialization, mass reproduction of written words and, lo, the need to pay for the material and services. Money became most desirable — all powerful.

So where is the wisdom today? Is it in our elders? I believe it is. However some segments of society look beyond wisdom. If my incoming mail is any indication, the elders are not asked for wisdom but for their resources. The assumption is that if I am old, I must have resources. And the mail from dozens of organizations insist that I can get a greater return if I invest a few thousand dollars with them. Not just a good investment for myself but critical to the good of the world.

Whew! Does that make me feel important? Of course. And I’m told that some elders do believe those words and invest real dollars to receive many more real dollars in return. Which never happens. They never hear from the company again and holler “Fraud.” Others make their choices to foundations of longstanding organizations that will not return money but promise to continue to do their best for their cause in the future. Good for them.

We shall see if that is the way of the world. Lucky for me my longevity has given me the wisdom that my money will not reap untold riches in my pocket, only continue the integrity of my favorite organization.

Travel by proxy

Monday, April 2nd, 2007

What a switch! For years I traveled to far reaches in the world always letting family know where I would be and for how long. And now I find my kids off on travels while I sit at home and vicariously tag along. My third child and family are in Orlando at the EPCOT Center and Disney World. My husband and I were at the opening of EPCOT way back when many spots in the international areas were simply marked for the countries to occupy them,still in the planning stages. We had returned for further visits, actually one with the son who is there now. And I will tell you that December in Florida is the pits, at least for that visit.

My fourth child and spouse of 25 years are in New York and will be continuing on a Princess cruise through the British Virgin Islands celebrating a wedding anniversary in a most romantic style. Imagine! Their adult kids are left behind to fend for themselves, which means going to work as usual. Holidays for some do not mean holidays for all. But then those kids have been to France and England so they are not exactly depraved. Not to mention spending their entire lives in the warm south.

My firstborn, a Nam veteran, is content to stay within the state of Oregon, so far, although he and his 30 year spouse often trek north into Washington state to visit daughter’s family including a fabulous grandson. I will toast their marriage when I celebrate my 80th birthday later this year.

My last born pulled stakes in Oregon last month, coming full circle from Seattle to Boston to Alabama to California now to settle in Seattle. His future travels are yet to be determined.

Between the first and third children is my only daughter, who has a spouse of 29 years. After many trips to Europe they became enraptured watching the development of a granddaughter, whose parents work, as so many must these days. Weekend and summer travels are on trains, a method of transportation more relaxing than competing with automobiles on congested highways. They encourage me to take the train more often and I am much convinced of the advantages, especially when ice and snow in mountain passes do not entice me to the road, regardless of how much I like to drive.

I look back on my wedding anniversary to ponder what would have been if I had more than 39 years with my spouse. We traversed almost all 50 states by truck and various automobiles, putting on hundreds of miles. We sped across the country usually with a specific goal in mind noticing signs along the way to historic attractions. After one or two it appeared these signs led to tourist attractions so we rarely stopped, preferring instead the scenery of byways where we absorbed history of the countryside by noting the types of architecture required for the industry supporting local inhabitants.

There were two notable airline trips. Both were efforts of the airlines to satisfy our appetites for seeing as much of the USA in a week as possible. So from airports in major cities we boarded for jaunts to Niagara Falls, St Petersburg, Florida, Miami, and Las Vegas. The Las Vegas leg is most memorable because the flight was early and the pilot circled over the Grand Canyon, a view I treasure remembering even now. Niagara Falls was cool and misty although I found the frozen view from the Canadian side more thrilling some years later.

Well enough of that. I am contented to be at home although not so sedentary that I will remain so for very long.