Old Folks’ Emotions

My neighbor told me this when
at the mailbox we happened to meet.
Seems he and his 16-year-old son had been
to a movie, arriving early to get a good seat.

“What’s with you old folks always being so early?
The lights are still on! We’ve got to sit here and wait!”,
the son had complained. He‘d countered “Don’t be surly.
I hate bad seats, stumbling over feet, from coming in late.”

Sitting there - in their good seats, waiting - my neighbor
saw some rows down a mother and her young daughter
taking seats near the entrance, offered them as a favor
by some stranger, who then relocated higher up the stairs.
(The girl - weak, with trouble walking - clearly ought to
not have had to climb the stadium-style theater’s stairs.)

“That poor girl! What a nice gesture made by that man!”,
my neighbor had said, with tears filling his eyes.
His son had looked at him. “I just don’t understand
why old folks get so teary-eyed, something teens despise.”

My neighbor answered him thusly: “You teens simply
haven’t lived enough yet. You don’t truly relate
to scenes like this one - her suffering, his sympathy.
Your knowledge is from TV, movies…you only anticipate.

‘Old Folks’ have experienced from life genuine emotions --
deep down to the very soul sadness, grief, love, joy -
scenes like this tap into our deep reservoirs of intense, stored
memories and emotions, bringing them bubbling to the surface.

I recall a young girl I loved sickening and dying. I recall when
an act of kindness meant the world to me. Only you young men
think it makes one a man to never cry, to have a heart of stone.”
“Well, Dad, I still think it is just an imbalance in some hormone!”

Harry Edward Gilleland      03.29.02    printer friendly