Okay, so it's been nearly a year since my last post...what can I say? Life has been busy.
Here is what I do know: I love him. I love elderly gentlemen. I do not know why and I have been trying to find the words to explain it for a long time. All I can say is, those two guys at Family Dollar, buying their toilet paper, chili in a can, and potato chips just made my heart...swell? Swoon? Go soft? I'm not sure. Like I said, it's really hard to explain.
And it's not related to my feelings toward my grandfathers. That is something wholly different. I loved my grandfathers and spent a good chunk of my childhood with them.
I think the feeling comes from my intense curiosity about the distant past. I've always been a sucker for historical fiction...or just actual history and historical places, in general. When I see these men, they remind me of the enormous Hemlock trees we pass on the trail to the Ice Glen in Stockbridge. There is a story in every wrinkle. Strong and seasoned, wrinkled, vulnerable, but filled with stories of how the world used to be. (I do not believe that sentence is grammatically correct...I should correct it, but it's a blog, so there. I like the way it sounds.)
An 80-year-old man might have played with a toy like this:
Or driven in a car like this:
An 80-ish-year-old man might have fought in the Korean War or Vietnam. They witnessed the first landing on the moon on black and white televisions, the birth of computers, the Internet, cell phones...9/11...they have seen so, so much. And I suppose I find that fascinating.
More than once, these gentlemen have held a door open, offered a kindly, "good afternoon," and a handful have even wanted to load groceries in my car. (To which I graciously decline mostly because my parents raised me to respect my elders and...let's face it, they also taught me to be wary of strangers and you know I have SUCKER basically tattooed to my forehead.)
I will admit to stopping and talking about the weather with these gentlemen in the parking lot of Hannaford or other similar markets more times than any of you would guess. I can't help it. I respect the time these guys have spent on this planet and if they want to chat with some oddly overly friendly lady loading groceries...well, they can have my two minutes. In whatever small way, each generation paves the path for the next...and now, maybe at the end of this...it does have to do with my grandparents.
At 39 years old, I really wish I could speak with them. I remember so many stories my grandparents told of their childhoods, the wars they lived through, family triumphs and tragedies....but I was so young. I want to hear their stories as the semi-seasoned adult I sort of am, now that I've experienced a few tragedies and triumphs of my own. Hmmmm...
Maybe they are just cute.