Old Folk

Perhaps some of the most iconic images we think of from Rural America – something probably true in other countries, too – are those of old folk sitting on rural front porches, rocking in chairs as they whittled, played an instrument, knitted or worked needlework.  Most, unable to do more physical work, were tasked with simple work: minding younger children – perhaps teaching them also.

Often, the iconic thoughts of old folk more reflects the yearning in our minds for the slower, simpler, and gentler times, and we smile at the thought and, perhaps, wish we – someday – can retire to a front porch with a rocker and something to pass our time.  No computers, television, telephone or smart device.  No yelling, screaming neighbors, no traffic.  Just watch the sun go down and the stars come up.

We add to this pleasant mental scene, kindness and gentleness – of family gathered after the evening meal.  We imagine white-haired, wrinkled grandparents retelling family history, centuries old, doing so often enough all listening know it by heart.  The vast stories of hard work and rough weather endured.  Of hints, ideas and suggestions passed on that only years can teach.

We think of old folks teaching youngsters to play guitar, fiddle, banjo or another – or multiple – instruments.  We think of children learning to sew, knit, repair a lost button or two, or a ripped pant.

As I end, leaving you with the minds-eye view of old folks rocking away on the porch in the darkness.  Think of the last two paragraphs above this and wonder, what if they could have put all thoughts in their minds onto paper for posterity to know?  Some did, and we treasure them.  How many more – and greater – were lost?

– Billie

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