Presenting The "Pencil Men"

Old woman asleep.
Old woman asleep. | Source
Sure, smoking is not healthy, but it is the only joy that I have left.
Sure, smoking is not healthy, but it is the only joy that I have left. | Source

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.

"I may be old, but my mind is as sharp as a straight razor."
"I may be old, but my mind is as sharp as a straight razor." | Source
"Hard living, hard living, smoking. I forget which one did me in."
"Hard living, hard living, smoking. I forget which one did me in." | Source

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.

Now days, I listen  more than I talk for  not many want to hear what I have  to say.
Now days, I listen more than I talk for not many want to hear what I have to say. | Source

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.

 "Huh! Well look at this.  They is something to  this Bible."
"Huh! Well look at this. They is something to this Bible." | Source
"You've not  lived life  unless you've  walked   a tightrope without a net"
"You've not lived life unless you've walked a tightrope without a net" | Source

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?

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Comments 8 comments

William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 months ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

It's very sad, Ken, that we allow so many of our fellow beings fall into such despair. With little in the way of options, I'm certain they feel as a caged bird. I know there are many people who have little empathy with the downtrodden nevertheless there a many of us that go about our business with an ache in our hearts. In my humble opinion, it's not so much the disinterest of most people. No. It's "the system -- our economic system that rewards "investment" more than work.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 8 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

William,

You are right. I should have inserted something about caring for these people from a personal standpoint, as I did and many times still do to this day.

Yes, many are not to be pitied, but those, I find that need my pity, seldom ask for it.

This does not excuse me from doing what I can for the deserving in the eyes of The Almighty.

Thanks for your interesting input.

Write again.


Say Yes To Life profile image

Say Yes To Life 8 months ago from Big Island of Hawaii

Growing up as a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan, I have often made the mistake of assuming all the elderly people lived in the pioneer days. Once, in the mid 1990s, I was talking with a man in his 70s. It turned out he was born in 1919, which meant he grew up with technology almost as much as I have. Shucks! I wanted to ask him about how he felt seeing a bunch of things, like airplanes or radios, for the first time.

Fabulous pictures, by the way.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 8 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Say Yes To Life . . .

Wow, what an experience. You and I now share something that we can pass along to those who are going to take our places in the carbon HubPrint we are making. (see that? A play on words).

Thank you sincerely for the sweet words.

Love you,

Kenneth

P.S. write anytime and have a day full of peace.


skperdon profile image

skperdon 7 months ago from Canada

Interesting hub Kenneth!


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 7 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hey, skperdon,

How are you this morning? I hope you are well.

Thank you for your nice comment which is greatly-appreciated.

If I may, I want to reveal a secret to you. You can read this for up to four times and receive a different feeling or idea with each reading.

What you might do is write down those individual feelings or ideas with each reading then analyze the four feelings or ideas as a whole, and then see what you have.

It's mysterious how words can work.

Write me anytime.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 6 months ago from Central Florida

Kenneth, I've never looked down at the elderly. I've had grandparents and aging aunts and uncles. And now I'm aging myself. One day you'll be able to see the paths I've taken in life etched upon my brow and I will wear them proudly!


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 6 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

bravewarrior,

Sorry to be late in responding. I have had a terribly-busy Thursday and Friday building birdhouses. Thanks for sharing your life with me on HP. And thanks for touching my life. You are very Special and Unforgettable.

Kenneth

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