Old or Seasoned…?

Written by BG Howard

September 27, 2023

I recently had an interesting experience when prompted to visit with a neighbor who happens to be several decades my senior. Ms Eloise; for the sake of reference, lives one block south of me with her daughter who contends with mental challenges. My neighbor’s husband passed away several years ago and her two older daughters reside in other states. At any rate, Ms. Eloise and I became acquainted a couple years ago and have grown to be rather close neighbors.

Upon my visiting with her last week, Ms. Eloise detailed an incident with her garage door opener which had, she identified, started smoking the week before. She’d sought the help of another neighbor after learning I’d left town. Coincidentally, the neighbor had recently contacted a garage door company to have his door and opener replaced as well.

At the point I was conversing with Ms. Eloise, she disclosed having phoned the company, paid for a garage door opener and a $900 deposit for the new door that had also been ordered. When my neighbor explained the company had provided an estimate for parts and labor that totaled nearly $3,000 I almost went ballistic.

Needless-to-say, I’m not an expert where it concerns garage doors but the one at my house was just replaced about three years ago and it didn’t cost anywhere near the amount Ms. Eloise had been quoted. Once I’d somewhat regained my composure, an extensive query was made in effort to try understanding what could possibly equate such a monumental cost for replacement of the door.

When I requested a copy of the paperwork that had been provided by the specialty company and my neighbor informed of the fact nothing had been presented to her, that garnered a serious red flag. She expressed the reason for the technician’s wanting to change out the door is because he said it was old. I suggested Ms. Eloise not schedule any further work to be completed by the company until opportunity provided an occasion for me to meet with the representative who’d been out to assess the situation.

For two days beyond the conversation with my neighbor, the words of the garage door company’s representative were seared into my mind. “How dare he?” I thought. Does he not have any respect for his elders?

The situation endured by my neighbor is, unfortunately, one that occurs all too often as unscrupulous individuals seek to take advantage of those who simply don’t know any better. It goes without saying that the world is rapidly changing and the level of respect, people have for themselves or others, continuously diminishes with each passing day.

Growing up in southeast Georgia, it’s sometimes hard to understand what drives a person who sets out to intentionally deceive another. Patience is all but exhausted when it comes to the thought of anyone purposely taking advantage of an elderly or otherwise disadvantaged person.

Many have a terribly misguided perception that older people should be “put away” somewhere as they serve no real purpose in society. There was a time when youth actively sought advice and the benefit of wisdom dispensed by those older than themselves. Presently, the mere factor of a person’s age is the very reason today’s young adults rebel and refuse to hear anything from “that old fool.”

In reality, whether its people, products or perception, older generally proves to be of better quality. Long gone are the days of spending time with one’s elders who’d gladly take a moment to relay stories of experiences that evoked such qualities as honor, respect, and integrity.

“You be wise to remember,” An older gentleman once told me, “Ain’t no such thing as a old fool ’cause fools don’t survive to live that long.” There’s a lot, contrary to what many think, that can be learned from the elderly. Often their views of life are a great deal more simplistic and the approach one of reason.

Much is to be said about a person who has truly lived life to the extent of extracting every once of joy from it but is also equipped to pour valuable lessons into the next generation. People are much the same as furniture that becomes antique, clothes which are now vintage, or vehicles registered as classic…they become more valuable, and incresingly rare, with time.

One has to seriously consider the wealth of knowledge embodied by older people and should welcome the infusion of wisdom if they’re willing to share. It would certainly behoove today’s youth to spend quality time with the fading number of historical volumes who are repeatedly shelved and subsequently forgotten. A good wine is never referred to as old; it just becomes more seasoned. I could be wrong but it’s just something to consider.

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