age is wealth
despite the optics
The vast majority of the friendships my husband and I have made over our marriage have been with people that were older, mostly significantly older, than us. When I consider the people in our lives, the ones that have stuck, even after many moves and many iterations of this life, I notice that it’s mostly been our oldest friends that have had the most profound and everlasting effects on our lives.
I don’t see that much today. So many people will tolerate the older people in their lives, maybe a craggy old uncle with a bad filter or a grandparent that rambles on about the good old days that most people endure but seldom engage with. And, yet, time marches on. The skills and knowledge they hold encapsulated within the confines of their fading bodies until their bodies are no more.
Maybe it’s our distaste for what’s on offer in our culture right now that aligns us better with people from another time. Maybe it’s a hunger to learn. Maybe it’s the desire for the courtesy of the past and some grounded, common sense. Maybe we’re just “old souls”. I don’t know for sure, but my guess is it’s all of it.
We have friends that are all mostly retired now, but none really retired at all. A salty, retired welder friend we have insists on pouring everyone a rye at 2:00 in the afternoon. He has pictures up in his welding shop from the 1980s of girls with naked boobs and welding helmets on their heads. He can tell you stories that would make a cad blush. He is in terrible health but dutifully follows the advice of his doctors. On an outside measure, we have not a single thing in common. And yet, he would be the guy I would call if the tire on my old farm truck blew out on the side of a darkened country road in -32c degree weather. I know because I did and he heaved and pommeled that rusted on spare with all his might until it succumbed and released. I was deeply grateful. Truth be told, I could tell that he quite liked coming to the rescue of a damsel in distress. Like I said, he’s dutiful.
We have so many old friends like this, people of grit and character. One of our dear farmer friends still wears tweed and plays classical music to his beloved dairy cows in the barn. Another uses only his horses to plant and harvest the bounty of his land. We’ve been friends with an 84 year old woman that was committed to continue raising her cattle, a purebred that her husband had started decades before he died. She was gnarled with rheumatoid arthritis, and a devotee of shortbread, but she got herself outside very morning and evening to care for her beloved “coos”. Another of our elderly friends taught us how to make a dug well. Others taught us how to make