Generations of older folks

I started my public day in a huge crowd at the opening gong (well, no gong really, opening time) of the local blood bank, a place organized for the literate (you must read a wall of instructions upon entering in order to figure out the next step) and outfitted to hold about 50 at a go.  I was literally number 56 and didn’t mind foregoing a chair.  It gave me the chance to do some circumspect people watching.

A couple of elderly men–definitely late seventies or further–worked hard to give each other the one remaining chair nearest me.  Both were good natured and even looked a fair amount alike, as though years of awareness of the other had transmogrified what might have started as two very different looking young men.  They finally settled on which would sit and which would lean on the chair back when…

…enter an even more senior woman, somewhat spryer than either of them but not a candidate for a long stand.  They–yes, they, not just the seated one–offered her their chair and as she sat, the three sets of eyes connected.

“Oh, do you remember me?” one man asked her, sounding like he was about seven.

“Yes,” she smiled, “Do you remember me?”

“Grade four! Do you remember my name?”

“No,” she admitted, “I had a lot of students after you.”

None of the three of them seemed to find the meeting startling and I am sure they’ve seen each other across many of the years since he was nine and she might have been 20.  But they reverted to that generational span–as it must have seemed then–so fast and with such deference. They weren’t three elderly people but two boys and the young woman who had been their teacher.

Not a bad reward for the early trip and the wait.


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