By George

I know! You are all worrying about my acquiring ?Old Timers? disease. With good cause I must admit. I am endlessly plagued with the realization that a name I could bring to the surface with no trouble a couple of years ago brings no response from that old grey matter inside this skull of mine. I do apologize to all of you when I can not call you by name any more even if I can recall that we have met somewhere, some time ago. As most of you know, we do have a couple of wonderful grandchildren living close by. The younger one cried when she went back to her mother and said, ?Granddad doesn?t even remember my name.? I had called her, ?Lovely child?, and she was devastated! Now, what was her name?

Enough of this self immolation. Today I want to spend a few moments of your time to let you all know that nothing offends me more than to have some well meaning person call me, or any other older person, ?Dearie!? Dreary, I can cope with, but that other expression is without that person ever realizing how hard it is for any person who has spent years being independent and a reliable family member or community minded individual to be put down with such an abusive comment! A few years ago I was at a workshop in Prince George and the moderator suddenly realized that, while they had provided speakers to talk about union members, about immigrants, about all kinds of caregivers and all the other social service providers, they had omitted seniors and asked me to respond. It was late on a Friday afternoon and everyone had already been inundated with the problems all the groups who were presenters had listed ad nauseam. It was definitely not a time to be serious about our many real or imagined grievances so I chose to tell them that, should I ever have the misfortune of being put in a seniors residence, and if any caregiver called me ?dearie? with the last ounce of strength in my failing body, I would belt her! It was very well received and one lady thanked me and said she would never use the expression again.

Just give a couple of moments of your time to realize that, yes, you too will get older and you might just as well prepare the less elderly for a better and more appropriate comment about you when you become the recipient of such well meaning, but offensive greeting. If, when an older and less firm adult appears to be grouchy and miserable in your younger eyes, it is not necessary for you to lecture him/her or to suggest ways to make life more pleasant for everyone else. Just give that person the dignity that once was his/hers in abundance!

I know there are still a few of you left who agree with my endless diatribe regarding the dumb Yankee who is choosing to end life on this planet, but for now, let him stew in his own juice! Enjoy Shangri la!