16 March 2009

A day Wiser

During a family visit this weekend I was introduced to my sister-in-law's grandfather, an octogenarian. As I sat across the table from him, I stared and listened in awe as he (methodically) rambled on about the marvels of 2009. This began from a song blaring from a cell phone as it rang. He started; "Telephones, I remember when I first saw one".

He began to tell me of his youthful days when the light in his home was provided by oil lamps, and recalled the men who would come and light the street lamps @ night. His face lit up when he told me about his move to Kingston, when he for the first time saw a light bulb. The way he said "light bulb" is equivalent to the way men today say "March Madness". It was an exciting time for him, he recalled tram cars and train stations which are now a thing of the past in Jamaica, and exclaimed about the uproar caused from the first sighting of an airplane. As a result of the plane's altitude, no sound was heard, so everyone came out into the streets exclaiming that "God was coming". After the third day of this happening, one man said "oh, that's a plane". He was resultantly taunted and called a blasphemer (among other things), until the plane descended into the newly built airport where everyone was able to see the frame.

In the hour long conversation we had; it wasn't exactly what he said, but more so the way he said it, and the expression on his face that left an impression on me. He was able to convey his thoughts and feelings in a manner that took me to the days he spoke of. He had a concerned look on his face for the upcoming generations, as we spoke about the fact that society has become so modernized that we no longer appreciate the small things. We complain when there is a power outage, even though 64 years ago, residences operated w/o electricity. We gripe over an email taking 30 seconds longer than normal to load, even though we used to wait two weeks for a physical letter to arrive.

I left his company w/ hopes of one day being as patient and wise as he. Though ExTreMeLy thankful for today's technology, I am more appreciative of the relics of the past...*I must purchase a Walkman soon!* Being in his presence I was reminded that it is a privilege to age and experience the wonders in our ever changing world, and reminded of the necessity for elders. I hope to one day be a valuable "old" asset to the community as he was to me...


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