Rick Sarro Wednesday, March 5, 2014 0

If I was a teen again and had a do-over, I’d recommend that I cast a considerable gaze upon the elderly.

I’d look around at old people and find those who bore good fruit and see how they got their orchard situated.

I’d see that they wore comfortable shoes. And classic clothes. Maybe I’d save a few bucks from chasing fads.

I’d notice that they don’t get upset at things, even big things, like death … and I’d think, ‘That’s where you’ll end up,’ and so I would interrupt all the wasted days of emotional turmoil, try to speed it to conclusion, rather than drag my heart across broken glass.

Hopefully I’d notice that they all seem to simplify as they get older, so maybe I should start simple, and stay simple, and have less to do when I’m up in age.

From what I’ve seen the best of them have a good chair, a firm mattress, and a favorite coffee cup. Just about everything else is fluff.

It’s a curious thing, how the elders say the least. Full minds and frugal tongues: maybe that comes from figuring out that wasting words is wasting time.

There’s something to be learned from the elderly about minding your own business.  The world is getting pretty crowded and this trait might be more useful every year of my life.

The best marriages of the elderly are marked by respect, tolerance, trust, and kindness. Maybe that’s what we should be thinking about when we’re marrying, instead of pheromones and hubba hubba…

Old people go to church. Life ends at a cliff, called death; it’s nice to stand there wearing some faith, rather than buck naked as you go over the edge.

I’ve noticed that the elderly are patient. They figure time will do for me what time did for them, so they let it happen as it happens.


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When I was a kid the only people more duddly than my parent’s generation were my grandparent’s generation. They were so behind. So passed by. So I thought.

As they watched me leave the Road of Common Sense to make a new road through briars and bogs, maybe they thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if just one youngster didn’t try to reinvent the wheel?’ They’d probably done what I was about to do, so they just shut up and let me go on, knowing advice was a waste of vowels.

First he’ll blow money on a car, they said to themselves. And I did.

He’ll chase the wrong kind of women. And I did.

He’ll pick the wrong career for the wrong reasons. And they were right.

He’ll wake up at thirty and go what-the-heck-am-I-doing, and what-do-I-have-to-show … and they were right.

And there went a chunk of life … much motion, minimal progress … with them thinking, ‘Life is too short to plow the same row over and over …’


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The elders I respect were honest. They planned on a full nine innings and didn’t expect to cheat a shortcut to get them to the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded and nobody out.

The ones with the most boring testimony tend to have interesting peace. The ones who sowed wild oats got square with God. They’ve got good stories, but they’ve got bad scars.

The best of the old people seemed to pray more than they preached. My grandmother hardly offered me a slice of advice but I know I got mentioned on a daily basis in her conversations with Him Up There.

The ones I admire do a lot of doing. Sometimes doing is not doing. They are steady, have arrived at conclusions, they act on those conclusions, and it is for me to see where they stand by the doing or the not doing.

They seem to care very little about other people’s opinion of them. That’s nice. Sooner you get there the sooner you start being an actual person.


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This edition of Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories is brought to you by Eighty-one, where old is spelled Old, out of respect.

Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories are posted on Eighty-one’s Facebook page, Sunday, Wednesday and Friday evenings, about pillow time. Uncle P can be reached at  81creativity@gmail.com