Presenting The "Pencil Men"
Notice their face first
Then silently study their eyes, choice of words, and mannerisms. These are key clues to attempting to knowing what men (like these in photos to the right) have lived, what they lived, and what life-changing experiences they had along the way.
Elderly guys fascinate me. They always have. I can recall when I was eight years of age, gazing at some elderly man I seen slowly making his way down the sidewalk in Hamilton when my dad and I went to town way back in 1962. Don't laugh. You all have memories such as this.
His wardrobe and movement
Told his life's story. For the most part, he was an "unknown" entity among the townsfolk. Hardly anyone acknowledged his presence although he was always doing something from sweeping off the store front owned by a picky merchant or taking out the trash from a restaurant whose employees thought themselves a bit too lofty to do such a menial task.
But not for this old guy. He did his rather odd tasks without as much as a mention of how low the job made him feel. He continued working as if he were the only soul living in my hometown. Many, including myself, should have taken an object lesson from just watching his daily life and untarnished work ethic.
This elderly man was not alone
There were, of course, more elderly men than this guy who always captured my attention. From where I was made to sit in our family car, in the backseat, I would fix myself to just the right position while my parents were paying our bills and purchasing groceries, to watch for this elderly man. To be honest, my dad sometimes used these jobs as excuses to talk with his many friends he would see in town on a Saturday morning. My mom was always first to be finished with her chores and back to our car.
As my parents disappeared from sight, as if by some magic spell, there "he" would be. Dressed no differently than the previous Saturday. Crumpled felt hat, almost thread-bare suit coat and pleated pants that were, in my infantile thinking, sewn to his legs, for when the wind blew on him, his pants acted as a parachute because of the way they filled out with the breezes. The elderly man never let things like the high winds stop him from doing his tasks unwanted by other citizens. Sometimes tears of pity filled my eyes at watching his trembling hands empty the cans of garbage or sweep the storefront(s).
My mom, who was born with the eyes of an eagle, would spot my eyes red from crying when she was first to return from shopping. "You been crying?" she would always ask hoping I was in no trouble or had started any trouble. "Just some dust," I would quickly reply. I suspect that she never believed me.
The Summary to My Story is this
We, for too long now, have allowed ourselves a certain isolation coupled with the same certain insulation when it comes to "the lowly," and unknown such as the man I was talking about. Why is this? Many reasons. "We" let a poisonous pride infect our spirits that we also let separate us from others who are not as, for lack of a better word, fortunate. I hate to be crass, but that bites.
It is time for me, you, and our friends to stop once in awhile and just notice the elderly, forgotten, and faceless people who circulate around our lives. Even if it is only for a few moments. I promise you that doing this will not harm you in any way. And I also guarantee you that none of us will die from being just a little friendly and sensitive to people I have used as my topic of his hub.
So when do "we" start?
More by this Author
I am heading carefully into uncharted waters with this piece. I do not need to write a summary. The headline says most of what I am talking about in this piece.
"Life learned by heresy is futile, but life learned first-hand is fertile." (Author unknown).
Yes, "we" talk funny in the South. Need proof? Just read this hub.