Well, now that the super rich are going to keep the rest of us from falling off the fiscal cliff, consider this: our elderly are going back into the workplace faster than you can shake a cane. Today alone, I was helped by more gray hairs than young folk.
Walking into the supermarket, the stock ‘boy’ was putting up a case of ketchup. Granted, he did it bottle by bottle, unlike the young bucks who hold the case in one arm and fill the shelves with the other. But considering he was in his 70’s, I was impressed nonetheless. Same with the bent-over, bald guy who was gathering up wayward carts in the parking lot.
Several of my ‘over 60’ acquaintances have hired on at Starbucks over the last few years, just “for the benefits.” The janitor at the YMCA is a grandmother in her 60’s who never seems to take a break. The younger janitor, I notice, however, is often sitting on various stairwells sipping coffee or munching candy bars.
However, one further surprise awaited me on this first day of January, 2013. When I reached the end of my first lap in the pool and looked up at the lifeguard chair, I had to remove my goggles to believe my eyes. There, 4 feet up, with a red buoy strung over her chest was a gray-haired woman who looked at least 75. Her bare legs, while fit, had sagging skin dotted with old age spots and her ankles appeared swollen.
I kept swimming. A few minutes later, she climbed down from the chair and a young, buff guy took her place. I stopped to watch her move to her next location. Her posture was erect but in the kind of way that takes effort. And while I had the sense that I might not exactly like to drown on her watch, I also had tremendous respect for her resolve. Frankly, it won’t be the super rich or the President or anyone else that keeps this country from going down on its’ knees. It will be our elderly who continue to stand tall in the face of Time’s demise.
Helen Hudson is the author of, “Kissing Tomatoes,” now on Amazon/Kindle.