Saturday, February 26, 2011
Who had the unmitigated gall to remark that seniors are dispensable?
“They’re too old to understand or appreciate what’s out there” is a frequent complaint from those obviously out of touch with reality. The government makes budget cuts, denying them benefits, because they consider them at the far edge of the productive work force. This is hardly true, as seniors give back more to society than anyone else. Entertainers, painters, writers, chefs and other artists just get better with age. It is difficult to imagine any field where a senior would not fit in successfully. OK, they may not be able to build a bridge or run a marathon, but most professional careers that require depth of expression and wisdom will be blessed to boast of senior participation.
Let’s look at the world of entertainment and celebrity seniors. Grandma Moses, Anna Mary Robertson was a self-taught painter and did not become famous until her late 80s. Imagine Christmas books without her beautiful outdoor wintry scenes! Tony Bennett, who sings better than ever in his 80s, puts out a CD that becomes an instant best-seller and does a TV special that soars in the Nielsen ratings. What about actress/author Shirley MacLaine? In her 70s she still makes films and is acting at the top of her form in a plethora of feisty character roles. In In Her Shoes, her sparkling performance as the grandmother stole the movie right from under Cameron Diaz’ and Toni Collette’s noses. And what about Cloris Leachman, who attempted dancing in her 80s on TV’s Dancing with the Stars? Let's not forget Betty White, still beautiful at almost 90. She's knocking 'em dead in Hot in Cleveland, where she now gets to spout out gutsy one-liners like Golden Girl Sophia! If she’s not a model for seniors to live up to, I don’t know who is!
The list of senior contributions to our society goes on and on. Lesser known seniors are also getting a lot of attention in the media. My 75 year-old neighbor was recently commended for rescuing his granddaughter’s kitten. He did not call the fire department, but got a ladder, climbed up the tree to the branch where the kitty was cowering, grabbed hold of it and then backed down slowly with the precious furry creature in tow. He’s a hero, not only in his grandchild’s eyes, but with the entire town. He accomplished more in that one act than a dozen men half his age. My 96 year-old grandmother did the unthinkable. She went bowling for the first time in her life and helped win a major tournament for the members of her senior residence. What a sport!
Seniors do not deserve the bad rap they are getting. Their enthusiasm for life, and just plain stamina and courage in tackling the obstacles of the everyday world put them up on a pedestal for everyone to admire. Oh...and in the love department? - they've still got the stuff!
Saturday, February 5, 2011
The topical issues of a play are always inspiring. I think I should continue with an old idea of writing a fictionalized version of my great-grandfather working for the railroad in New England. Adventure, intrigue...who knows where that could lead?