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BS: Why I love cranky old people

Peace 03 May 05 - 06:31 PM
gnu 03 May 05 - 06:38 PM
GUEST,John O'Lennaine 03 May 05 - 06:44 PM
jacqui.c 03 May 05 - 06:46 PM
Alba 03 May 05 - 06:47 PM
Peace 03 May 05 - 06:50 PM
akenaton 03 May 05 - 06:50 PM
Rapparee 03 May 05 - 06:56 PM
jacqui.c 03 May 05 - 07:01 PM
GUEST,John O'Lennaine 03 May 05 - 07:21 PM
John Hardly 03 May 05 - 07:33 PM
Burke 03 May 05 - 08:06 PM
Peace 03 May 05 - 08:11 PM
ranger1 03 May 05 - 08:37 PM
Mary in Kentucky 03 May 05 - 09:00 PM
Sorcha 03 May 05 - 11:39 PM
sixtieschick 04 May 05 - 02:09 AM
Mappa Mundi 04 May 05 - 04:44 AM
kendall 04 May 05 - 07:40 AM
Azizi 04 May 05 - 09:03 AM
Alba 04 May 05 - 09:53 AM
Peace 04 May 05 - 07:51 PM
GUEST,Jon 04 May 05 - 07:58 PM
kendall 04 May 05 - 08:12 PM
jacqui.c 04 May 05 - 08:35 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 05 May 05 - 07:10 PM
Peace 05 May 05 - 07:21 PM
Peace 05 May 05 - 08:18 PM
Rapparee 06 May 05 - 03:26 PM
Kim C 06 May 05 - 05:40 PM
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Subject: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: Peace
Date: 03 May 05 - 06:31 PM

I am 57 and not really feeling all that old yet.

I often volunteer to work at bingos to help out service clubs, school kids raise money for field trips, etc.

When I first started to work at those things I thought many of the old gals and guys who went were grumpy, miserable old coots who should lighten up a bit. Over the past four years I have come to know many of them (within the context of the bingo hall) and I spend lots of time speaking with this or that one in an attempt to bring some warmth and humour into their lives. The man who sat in the corner--who used to growl when I went to see if he needed tickets, etc--well, he wasn't there two months ago. The cancer that had been killing him slowly finally killed him permanently.

The woman who is--I guess--about seventy: I asked her why she was munchin' on celery and carrots while everyone else was munchin' on jellybeans and jujubes. She said, "Have you seen my ass?" I looked at her and said, "Yes, ma'am, I was checkin' it out as you were entering the hall. It is a work of art." She burst out laughing and ya know, I made her day.

There is **** who goes twice a week. She always offers me a candy or two during the course of the evening. For some reason or other we hug each other when she comes to the hall. She's an older gal who spends most of her days taking care of a husband who is on his way out. She also gives me heck when I sell her losing tickets--she spends two dollars on 'snap and wins' but usually she snaps and loses. She quit smoking recently, and she's started to change her hair colour frequently. I never fail to compliment her.

There is the man who sits with his wife and they love jokes, so I make it a point to find a good one for them on the nights I work there. Always tell them the joke at 7:15 PM. That's when the break begins. They have been together for over fifty years.

Then there is the gal who has had two hip replacements and a knee replacement. She is in lots of pain constantly. I see her after telling the joke to my elderly friends and she tells me about her pain and her daughter who lives in another city far from here. Few other people talk with her because they no longer want to hear about it.

I guess what I've learned over the past few years is that people have reasons to be cranky, and while I can't change those reasons, I can bring a little light and humour to them--maybe recognize their humanity and intelligence and worth.

I was late for the last bingo I worked. The place had about thirty people in it; they were waiting for the games to begin. I yelled out, "Hi, honey, I'm home." Literally all thirty grump old folks in the place said hi Bruce, hello Bruce or simply smiled. That made this cranky old bugger feel pretty good.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: gnu
Date: 03 May 05 - 06:38 PM

Good on ya. More people should do the same. Even just a few hours a week. It's well worth it... both ways.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: GUEST,John O'Lennaine
Date: 03 May 05 - 06:44 PM

The love you take is equal to the love you make


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: jacqui.c
Date: 03 May 05 - 06:46 PM

Nice one Brucie.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: Alba
Date: 03 May 05 - 06:47 PM

Absolutely Gnu.

Good on Ya Brucie. Life ain't easy for some and a smile and a wee bit of kindness costs nothing.
So I'm sending you a.... {{{{{{[hug}}}}}}} Pass it on would ya:>)
Jude


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: Peace
Date: 03 May 05 - 06:50 PM

On re-reading my post above it seems a bit self-aggrandizing (sp?). It wasn't meant to be. I guess I was trying to say that when people are grumpy or cranky, they usually have good reason to be so, and we don't always know what those reasons are or the weight of burdens they bear. I wish I could keep that in mind more often than I do. I guess I'll just have to try harder in future.

BM


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: akenaton
Date: 03 May 05 - 06:50 PM

Great stuff Brucie.   I wouldn't have expected anything else from you , you've a heart a mile wide.

I enjoy talking to the old folks as well. It take so little effort to make their day better. A lot of them live in a lonely world and need to know that some one care about them and is interested in what they have to say.
These old folks are often excellent judges of human nature with years of experience behind them. I've learned a lot from them over the years.

Take care of yourself Bruce. "Good men are hard to find "....Ake


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Subject: Lyr Add: HATS OFF TO OLD FOLKS (Steve Romanoff)
From: Rapparee
Date: 03 May 05 - 06:56 PM

'Cuz I turned 60 in February and considering the alternative, why not?

Tomorrow we'll have a photo shoot here to go with the press release that folks over 60 can ride the bus to the library bus stop free for nothing. That includes a pickup at their house, delivery to the library bus stop, and the route in reverse as well as using the existing bus stops.

(That Brucie's just one of them young whippersnappers, not even dry behind the ears yet.)

HATS OFF TO OLD FOLKS
Words and Music by Steve Romanoff
Copyright 1986

Hats off to old folks wherever they may be,
'Cause they are the best hopes for you and for me,
I stand up for old folks so you'll hear me say,
My hat's off to old folks
And I hope to be one someday.

I knew a man when I was ten, he walked behind a plow,
I wondered at his wisdom then,
And if he's resting now,
He had a wife he loved so dear,
Much more than he could show,
Through all my life he's wandered there
More than he'll ever know.

Oh, see the gentle woman at the corner of the park,
Her eyes are full of memories
She whispers in the dark,
If someone were to ask her
She would tell them every word,
'Til then her prayers and stories
Go unspoken and unheard.

We all remember someone who was there to show the way,
And little do they know
They got us where we are today,
I hope we get to tell them before
They lie beneath the sod,
The value of their knowing is
The only real reward.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: jacqui.c
Date: 03 May 05 - 07:01 PM

I used to do some work for Victim Support and, if I was visiting an elderly client would always make sure that I allowed a couple of hours for the call. Most of them loved company and I heard a few life stories. The visits invariably left me feeling buoyed up when I left and made me feel that I got more out of volunteering than I put in!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: GUEST,John O'Lennaine
Date: 03 May 05 - 07:21 PM

Yes Brucie, sometimes it takes a lot of patience, but it's often rewarding to find out the reasons that people are cranky.
It's too easy to simply snap back, which doesn't do either party any good.

I salute your resolution. (All meanings)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: John Hardly
Date: 03 May 05 - 07:33 PM

Nice post, Brucie.

Chuck, the owner of the local Ace, has made a practice of tapping a great, knowledgeable but inexpensive workforce -- retired old guys. One day after I had spent about forty minutes getting one of the old guys to cut me 50 feet of 1/8" cable, Chuck came up to me in the aisle as I headed toward the checkout. He wanted to know if the service I got from the old guy was OK.

"You know, Ed's 88." he said, "I like the idea of these guys having something to do beside wasting away sitting on their butts 'til they die. Still, I'm still hoping the service they offer here is to the customer's satisfaction."

"It was fine", I said. For some reason the forty minutes didn't seem to matter as much to me anymore.

The Ace guys talk in old man short hand. They never tire of an old joke or a good cliché. In one short(er) visit to the hardware I heard:   "I don't get mad. I get even", and "No matter how many times I cut that board, it was still too short" ha ha, and "You don't like the weather here? ….just wait five minutes".

I don't think that they think they're being original, clever, or funny by these ritual repetitions. I think they believe themselves friendly. I believe they're right.

My wife and a few of her friends used to take their dogs to the local nursing homes each month for "pet therapy". The more infirmed older people really seemed to respond well to the affection of a dog. The more coherent ones would regularly launch into tales of the dogs in their past. The reminiscences seemed to bring them joy in addition to helping them pass the endless, empty hours of nursing home life.

My wife is a good listener. In a very short time it was evident to me, in the few times I'd go along with her, that the old folks had taken a real liking to Dar.

I remember a story I read of a woman looking for the right nursing home for her mother who was going to require constant care. She went from nursing home to nursing home – each seemingly loving and caring, but for some reason the woman didn't choose them.

The place she chose seemed little different in any way from the many others she had rejected. When asked about her choice, she explained that it was the first place where they addressed her mother as "Mrs _______". All the others referred to her by her first name or, even worse, as "honey" or some other sweet nickname. The daughter wanted her mother in a place that respected, rather than patronized her mother. She felt as though a woman who had lived a respectable life didn't stop deserving respect just because she lost the ability to care for herself.

My wife really listed to the old folks on her visits and that kind of interest meant a whole lot to those people.

I was standing in line at the post office a few months ago. One older gentleman, probably in his 80's, was standing right behind me, and another, younger, maybe 70's but farm-work rugged, was almost up to the window.

The man behind me said "Hey Jack." and the fellow up-line turned, smiled and said "Hey Ed. How's life?"

"Every day this side of the sod, y'know?" replied Ed, and then he added, "I'm just thankful to be on my own still. After seeing Alice into Miller's (local nursing home) before she passed on, well, I just….well, I'm just happy -- happy to be at home. Glad I still get around on my own."

They talked a while longer until it was Jack's turn at the window. Jack wished Ed well and then turned to the postal clerk. "I'll have a book of those left-handed stamps please."


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: Burke
Date: 03 May 05 - 08:06 PM

Thanks for the thread. I spent a trying several hours with my 85 year old neighbor on Sunday. I've lived next door for almost 3 years & have heard almost nothing but complaints. A good bit is justified, but there seems to be a fair amount of paranoia.

I think it's time to try the jokes & humor approach.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: Peace
Date: 03 May 05 - 08:11 PM

Love you guys and gals for what you're posting here and the things you are doing for others.

In my youth, my grandfather got it into my head that shovelling walks in the winter was a good way to make money (in the days when a few pennies was money and a nickle was darn near a fortune). But he also let me know that there were some walks that got cleaned without me ringing the bell when I'd done. One of those 'old ladies' for whom I cleaned the walk and didn't ring the bell was Mrs ********. She was the epitome of cranky and she was the lady who always shooed us away when we kids made noise outside her ground-floor apartment windows. For about five winters I cleaned her walkway in winter. She never said thank you or otherwise remarked on the job I did for her about six months every year when the snow fell or drifted except for one time. She made me tea and cookies on a particularly cold day when I had finished her walk. It was very impressive to a seven-year-old having tea from a fancy cup. I was on my best behaviour and said please and thank you the way my grandparents would have expected.

After she passed on, and when my grandfather felt I was old enough to understand, he explained that she suffered horribly from what would today be called severe depression/mental illness. That lady lived in a hell most of us can only imagine. I think that her death came as a relief to her.

I have often wondered about her and that walkway. Today, when young people offer to help, I accept it gladly. Because it's not really about snow and walkways; it is about character and paths people follow.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: ranger1
Date: 03 May 05 - 08:37 PM

Brucie, making someone's day is never self-agrandizement.

I went on an aggressive "smile" campaign when I moved into the neighborhood I live in now. There are a lot of elderly folks in the low-income housing units surrounding my street and some of them looked so sad, angry or cranky, that I decided I had to do something about it. It took two years to get the toughest nut to crack, but she greets me first a lot of times, now. I personally love cranky old people because when they're not being cranky, they tell great stories. I really miss my neighbor who passed away last year. He was born in the house he lived in, was a retired police officer, and a WWII vet. He had the BEST stories. And he'd talk your ear off, given half a chance. I learned a lot about the history of the neighborhood and of the city in general. I wish I had had the foresight to get him on tape. Now that the weather is getting nice, I really miss him sitting out on his stoop, talking to every passer-by.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 03 May 05 - 09:00 PM

The ACE story reminded me of my "boyfriend."

It all started when I was working for Hubby in the old days when our vet clinic was in our home. We had a drug salesman that was fantastic; everybody loved him, he was extremely successful, and we couldn't wait to see him each month. He convinced me (and every other gal) to save all the black jellybeans for him. He was an older gentleman, a dead ringer for Lesley Nielson, and could get by with hugging all the women. He once showed up at the lab where I worked and told my boss on the phone that my "boyfriend" was there to take me to lunch!

He finally reached the age where he had to retire, lasted a few months, then hired on at a hardware store. (It may have been ACE.) We always joked that if some poor customer went into the store looking for a ten-cent item, he got an hour of personal attention and a lifetime store of knowledge.

For years, at all the conventions, the company he retired from would hire him (or invite him) to work in their booth just to PR with the folks and hand out candy. The lines at his booth were always the longest.

*******************************

Then there was Wally. He had quite a reputation in the running circles in Louisville. One year when Hubby ran the Minimarathon, I stood on the side of the road next to Wally as the runners were coming out of the park. He was in his seventies at the time, and couldn't run that year because he had just had back surgery. I bet he knew 25% of the 8000 runners. Many, many runners stopped their run to come over and shake his hand or hug him. He even had a special "loafing chair" in one of the running stores. The last time I was in there, there was a plaque on the chair naming it his memorial chair.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: Sorcha
Date: 03 May 05 - 11:39 PM

Which is why my Gang plays at residential care homes twice a month for free, then take some time to visit with folks.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: sixtieschick
Date: 04 May 05 - 02:09 AM

This is not a personal anecdote, but it's an inspiring look at a wise elder of our time.

When Anwar Sadat, president of Egypt, came to Israel seeking peace, he was introduced to Golda Meir, who he had always derisively referred to as "that old woman."

Meir said that they must continue to negotiate for peace. "Yes, it must go on between us so that even an old lady like me will live to see the day!"

Sadat began to laugh.

"I know you always called me 'that old lady.'" She held out a gift to Sadat, who had become a grandfather for the first time a few days previously." Well, as a mother and a grandmother, I give this to you."

In 1978 she celebrated her eightieth birthday, saying,

"My dear, I think it's like this. Old age is like an airplane flying in a storm. Once you're in it, there's nothing you can do. You can't stop the plane, you can't stop a storm, you can't stop time. So you might as well take it easy, with wisdom."

On Dec. 8, 1987 Golda Meir died, and her well-kept secret was revealed to the world. She had been suffering from leukemia for the previous 12 years.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: Mappa Mundi
Date: 04 May 05 - 04:44 AM

Brucie, I was so cheered by your post that I had to "come in from the cold" and sign up to the Cat!!!!!

I did this because your kindness and generosity has; "warmed me cockles" And I felt it would be baseless to applaud you as a "Guest"

There aren't enough folk like you in this world.

Bravo.

N.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: kendall
Date: 04 May 05 - 07:40 AM

Brucie, I hope if I end up in a nursing home that there are people like you around. (The administrators will need protection!)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: Azizi
Date: 04 May 05 - 09:03 AM

Brucie, I love your posts in this thread. They're very heart warming.

****

Mappa Mundi-welcome to Mudcat!!

Ms. Azizi


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: Alba
Date: 04 May 05 - 09:53 AM

On Giving
Then said a rich man, "Speak to us of Giving."
And he answered:

You give but little when you give of your possessions.

It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.

For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?

And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the overprudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city?

And what is fear of need but need itself?

Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, thirst that is unquenchable?

There are those who give little of the much which they have - and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome.

And there are those who have little and give it all.

These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.

There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.

And there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism.

And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue;

They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space.
from "The Prophet" by Kahil Gibran.

Mappa Mundi.... Welcome to the Muddy Kitty!

Blessings to all
Jude


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: Peace
Date: 04 May 05 - 07:51 PM

Thank you for your kind words, everyone, for your insights and wisdom. I may just print this entire thread and look at it in those times of darkness that visit every now and then.

Jacqui and Kendall: I don't know if there is 'a match made in heaven', but if there is, yours gives new meaning to it.

Mappa Mundi, I messaged my thanks to you, but I'd like to offer them again here. And welcome to the Mudcat.

Last little thing before this thread disappears. Many year ago I caught a kid smoking grass on the school grounds--in what town or province doesn't doesn't matter. Policy said I had to report him. I saw no point to it. He was in a home with a drinking dad and he'd have got a real beating from it all when he got kicked outta school, so I dealt with it quietly. (Sometimes policies are good things to ignore.) The kid and I had many conversations about life in general and grass in particular. He settled down over the course of the year and began to pay more attention to his studies. Various people had told him he was doomed, on the path to perdition, etc. Anyway, I taught him to ignore that. He joined a sports team and did some volunteer work at the hospital. I moved on that June and didn't see him again until three months ago. I was at a teachers' convention and someone tapped me on the shoulder.

He's now working as a teacher at an outreach school, dealing with kids who are lots like he was in his younger days (and lots like I was in mine). Says he loves it, and I got the impression that he understands when to implement policy and when not to. We didn't discuss 'that day' at all, but he did say, "Thanks, Mr Murdoch" when he left. I smiled and nodded.

Jude, I love Gibran. Thank you for posting the above. "The Prophet" was a book I first encountered about four decades ago. Feels like meeting an old friend again.

It has been an immeasurable pleasure reading the good things y'all do to make the world a friendlier place. True, we have none of us put an end to war or solved the problems of hunger and child labour, but somewhere near you are people who have had their condition improved just because they met you. Truth is, it don't get much better than that.

Thank you very sincerely for sharing your stories.

BM


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 04 May 05 - 07:58 PM

The thread title makes me think of this one Pip loves...

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me,
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired And gobble
up samples in shops and press alarm bells And run my stick
along the public railings And make up for the sobriety of
my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit. You can wear terrible shirts and
grow more fat And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and a pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and
beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry And pay our
rent and not swear in the street. And set a good example
for the children. We will have friends to dinner and read
the papers. But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old and start to wear purple.

~ Jenny Joseph ~


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: kendall
Date: 04 May 05 - 08:12 PM

I've learned a lot more from old people than from young people.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: jacqui.c
Date: 04 May 05 - 08:35 PM

The other day SINSULL and I were going into a supermarket when we spied a guy with long hair in a ponytail, leather jacket, tight trousers and heeled boots. He really was eye candy and we both looked and commented. I suddenly realised that one of the advantages of getting older is that you can DO that sort of thing safely because you are older.

Roll on the purple hat.....


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 05 May 05 - 07:10 PM

Yeah Brucie, Yer right about knowing when to ignore policy.

Douglas Bader's comment always struck a chord with me. He said "Rules are made for the guidance of wise men, and the obedience of fools".

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: Peace
Date: 05 May 05 - 07:21 PM

Wow. I read Douglas Bader's story when I was fairly young (was it "Reach for the Sky" by Brickhill?), and marvelled at his tenacity. He could take higher G forces than most because he had no legs (one off near the hip and the other near the knee (?). He made it something he did to go encourage other amputees who were in hospital. I have always admired him. Thank you for that quote, Don. I will commit it to memory.

BM


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: Peace
Date: 05 May 05 - 08:18 PM

Just checked. "Reach for the Sky" by Paul Brickhill. Must have read that when I was about 11 or 12. I know my grandfather was still alive.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: Rapparee
Date: 06 May 05 - 03:26 PM

It's so very much easier to hide behind the law (policy, procedure) than to take responsibility....


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Subject: RE: BS: Why I love cranky old people
From: Kim C
Date: 06 May 05 - 05:40 PM

The red hat poem is real cute and all, but I tell you what --- I'm 37 and I'm already DOING ALL THAT STUFF because I don't want to become one of them cranky old broads who's bitter because she didn't do this or that when she was young. I don't ever want to be sorry for what i didn't do.

Anyhow, that being said, I know a 100 year old lady who still goes bowling. She's a hoot. One day I said, Miss Ardie, I want to be just like you when I grow up.

And she said, Well, I'll pray for you then. :-)


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