Posts Tagged ‘senior citizens’

I have had it up to here with half-raised folks and don’t want to hear about rights and bla bla bla. Yes, in our free society, people have a right to have kids when they want and with whom they want. But, someone must say that developing a baby into a productive, responsible person is one of the hardest things in life. Young people who terrorize senior citzens are actually domestic terrorists to me.

In my Sunday morning newspaper, columnist Carlton Fletcher of the Albany Herald details a story about a group of young punks being disrespectful to an older couple. We must have a new type politician/policy maker that design public policy in a way that encourages people having kids when they are really ready.

The passage of time is the ultimate neutralizer in life



Carlton Fletcher

Time waits for no one, and we’re running out of time.

— Friends of Distinction

My blood started boiling as I surveyed the scene, and I found myself amazed anew at the human race’s capacity for cruelty.

A pack of young men, four strong, walked away from where an older couple stood looking warily after them. The four were laughing uncontrolably, pointing at the couple and falling all over each other in their mirth.

The old couple looked wounded, but not in any physical way. It was more a look of embarrassed resignation, of stunned disbelief. I noticed tears on the woman’s cheeks.

Trying to size up the situation, I asked the couple if they were OK. The man waved off my concern.

“No big deal,” he said. “Just some young hoodlums showing off and letting off steam.”

The woman, though, said nothing. She silently walked away, the tears flowing freely. I watched her slip quietly into their nearby vehicle and asked the man again if they were really all right.

He stood looking at me for a moment before saying anything.

“You know how it is with young kids,” he said with a long sigh. “They’re out roaming around with all that energy and nothing to do, and they have to let it out somewhere. I figure we’ve all done that at some time in our lives.

“But that doesn’t stop their words from hurting.”

The man stopped talking abruptly, as if he’d said too much. I actually looked around to see if the kids were coming back, then let the silence linger for a moment before asking if he wanted to talk about the incident.

“Oh, it’s just kids being stupid kids,” he said. “They made some cracks about us being old and used some language that got my dander up. I said something to them — told them to have some respect — and that got them going.

“They ran at us like they meant to hurt us, then stopped and said some real mean things.”

The man stopped again, and this time a look of hurt enveloped his face. It’s a look that touched my heart.

“They called my wife things like ‘pig’ and ‘sow’ and screamed how ugly she was,” the man said quietly. “They called her some nasty things that I wouldn’t repeat. I wanted to go after them, but I was scared they’d hurt my wife.”

Tears welled in the man’s eyes.

“That woman is the sweetest, kindest woman God ever created,” he said. “She’s been through more than her share over the years, put up with just about every kind of hardship you can think of. She just doesn’t deserve to be treated so mean.”

I offered my condolences and asked the man if he wanted me to contact law enforcement.

“Nah,” he said, “ain’t no need for that. We’re just gonna head on home now. I’ll have to see if I can’t find a way to make my wife feel better.”

I offer what I know are insufficient words to try and bolster the man’s feelings, but he waves me off.

“Son,” he said, “I’m not really concerned about those young punks. It makes me mad that they hurt my wife’s feelings, but she’ll get over it in time. I probably would have fought all four of them in my younger days, but those days are long gone.

“That’s one thing about life: It marches on. I was like those boys in a lot of ways when I was their age, but look at me now. And my wife may not win any beauty contests, these days, but, son, back in her day she turned every man’s eye. Heck, she’s still that beautiful young woman to me.”

He smiled at the memory.

“I figure time will catch up with those boys like it does all of us,” he said. “I won’t be around to see them get theirs, but I can rest easy knowing that, sooner or later, it will happen.

“Time gets us all.”

As the man shuffled off to join his wife in their car, I watched him with mixed feelings of respect and sadness. I was thankful that I’d happened upon him — in spite of the circumstances — but I couldn’t help but think about that look of bewildered hurt on his wife’s face.

As the couple drove away, I found myself dwelling on the man’s parting words: Time gets us all.

Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at carlton.fletcher@albanyherald.com.


Read Full Post »

George Zimmerman meant well but we must be careful in our zeal to protect our communities.  Trayvon Martin was a better young man than most but sorting good kids from the bad ones has become difficult because most of them –Black, White and Brown- seems to admire the thug/hard element. 

I didn’t add “Yellow” to the list above because (as I stereotype) Asians youth in America still respect their elders and attempt to be obedient.  Oh, it is a matter of time before certain parts of American culture ruin them also. 

We have two or three generations of young people who don’t give a flip about how they carry themselves.  They will say or do anything in front of anyone and dare you to look at them sideways.  Zimmerman, with the warmth of his firearm, wanted to be that heroic figure in the neighborhood who stood for what was right; he wanted to be the man not afraid to stop the crime drama.  But, he stepped mistakenly to a decent guy. 

On some level, I feel like the guy on the block who senior citizens seek regarding community matters but I am much smarter than Zimmerman.  You must establish a vibe with the young folks and I have found that the holiday season is the best time.  During Christmas and the Fourth of July, my 40 something classmates come home to visit their parents and, of course, yell (like we do) at a brother from down the street.  It usually surprises the current young people to know that their uncles were once young and that some oldheads gave us words of wisdom—now it’s our turn. 

The seed gets planted when my old friends put their massive hands on their nephews’ shoulders and say, “listen to my homeboy and help him keep the block straight for moms.”  That nephew and his crew are the ones with the booming car music at 3 a.m.  We always want to diplomatically address these matters rather than seeing another person heading to expensive penal system.

We have so much unemployment in rural Georgia but a factory closing doesn’t mean you don’t have a job to do.  Most of my friends have worked continuously since high school.  I have seen guys laboring to keep their kids in Polo and Tommy gear but the kids grow up with a feeling of entitlement.  A year out of work might just be the year when dude saves his son from the streets or the year when moms’ house get the renovations it needed. 

On the job front, we are starting to see reports on employers who will only hire whose currently working.  Really?  In my community, we must do everything we can to weather these rough times.  The good news is that Black folks have perseverance encode on our DNA.  If we get rid of Polo, Tommy and other aspects of conspicuous consumption, we could live with less money.  Secondly, we must stop trying to keep up with the Jones because the Joneses are in debt up to their eyeballs. 

There is nothing wrong with a guy being a stay at home dad for a minute; I have been a stay at home son for more than a minute and yes the salary drama is stressing me out.  We are now the old guys who voluntarily read the Bible and I like Proverbs 20:29 “The glory of young men is their strength and the beauty of old men is the grey head.”  I find Psalm 71:18 to be equally cool “Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and they power to every one that is to come.”  While unemployed, you still have work that needs to be done.

Proverbs 22:6 states “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  Well, my daddy had a strong commitment to our community and my neighborhood was created in the 1970s by men who were overworked and underpaid on someone else’s farms.  If those dead men paid for these houses with years of hard labor, we can’t let a few half-raised youth destroy the area to the degree that widows are in constant fear.  And the crazy thing is that homies who come home from prison are the main ones telling the youth that the wild path isn’t the right one.

Read Full Post »

Mrs. Juanita Goggins froze to death alone recently in South Carolina and reading her story was hard.  She was the first Black woman elected to the state House and a pioneer in public service. 

We must respect and protect our senior population and value them as the community’s most prized resources.  It hurts my heart to see young people using the worst imaginable language near senior women.  These women, many of whom lost their husbands years earlier, barricade themselves in their homes at night and during the day in fear of half-raised neighborhood thugs—but White folks are the biggest concern for the community.  Right.

I am pleased to say that I have always been a person who got taught when the old school people were sharing knowledge and wisdom on the block, in the church parking lot or the barbershop.  Since I have lived long enough to become old school myself, there is a natural obligation to share also but the homies aren’t interested.  They learn from rap videos and end up with an entitlement mentality and a lust for silver and gold.  “Seek ye first…”

Kids in our community are eager to start families with people they barely know while the parents who raised them are still on the struggle.  While the following statement is likely a stereotype, you must admire the Asian culture in America because the family unit functions as a cohesive operation—like a small business.  My Black brothers complain about the Indian and Korean businesses in the community but I say learn from their model.

Before starting a new family, our kids should take care of the seniors who let us stand on their shoulders.  They fought the good fight but now fight people who look like them and face neglect.  Family life would be much nicer if marry couples had their first child after the marriage solidified and after they were finished being young.  I say 24 years old is a good number.  Between 18 and 24, we should be checking on the seniors and learning from them.  Respect your elders….even when you get old.

The worst feeling in the world is putting off seeing about the seniors and learning that it is too late—-you selfish bastard.  I hope the rims and tims were worth it and stop leaving your kids for your parents to raise.  Those parents might find themselves with little savings at retirement age.  Retirement, what retirement. 

No one can say that I didn’t make the seniors around me priority one.  Matthew 19:19  “Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Bible verse and cuss words in the same paragraph; let’s us say I am a work in progress and the senior are still busy molding.


Read Full Post »

The health care debate dances around the idea that people are obese and unhealthy from lack of exercise and poor eating habits.  The public policy question is how much money should be spent saving someone from themselves.  There was a pastor down here who said when he was in “the world” he knew he was in the world. I appreciate that honest self-analysis and I personally know that if I eat too much of the wrong things I cooked my own goose.  (And drink Grey Goose in moderation.)

The Congress is considering legislation to paid spouses of war veterans with serious brain injuries to assist with their care.  What a great idea since to can’t imagine to debt this nation owes those families.

I wonder if engaged couples are really thinking that this person will be a solid and interesting companion with whom to grow old for the next half century.  As we prepare for Thanksgiving, give thanks for the smooth old couples who demonstrated how it should be done—with style, grace, commitment and responsibility. They don’t make marriages like they use to because they don’t make people like they once did; find yourself in a wheelchair and Boomquesia is out of here like last year.

Happy Thanksgiving and I give thanks that I did not marry Boomquesia.

Read Full Post »