Kathy Lewis (left) enjoys a hand of crib with Alan Watrich, Judy Bernert and Ev Fleming. The Creekside Seniors Centre’s weekly crib game takes place every Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Kathy Lewis (left) enjoys a hand of crib with Alan Watrich, Judy Bernert and Ev Fleming. The Creekside Seniors Centre’s weekly crib game takes place every Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Value elders for their wisdom, insight

Fiona Grisswell’s column to the Free Press

As I drove home in the darkness the other day I was well aware of the aches I’d earned cross-country skiing.

For anyone who read my story in last week’s paper, you will know that I made the contact with the ground.

A lot.

I will be honest. A part of me was a tad leery setting out.

I am no longer 19 and I do not bounce back as fast as I did before.

What if I could not do it?

All went well but it made me aware I am getting older.

A few weeks back I stopped to get my glasses adjusted at the green building.

I can never remember the name of the place.

The steps were slick that morning.

Going through the door I noticed an older gentleman slowly climbing up behind me.

He seemed a bit unsteady so I went back and held his arm as he navigated the last few stairs then held the door while we waited for his wife to join him.

We smiled and I thought no more of it as I went about my day.

But I found myself remembering that moment during my drive home.

One day, I will be the person needing a little help getting up a set of slippery stairs.

I hope there is someone there to take my arm.

Why do we not understand the value to be found in our elders?

Growing up, one of my favourite people was Bertol Horton.

His son and daughter-in-law were best friends with my parents and Bertol and his wife lived in a suite in their basement.

We went to their house on Saturday nights. Everyone would gather around the fireplace and visit.

I was around seven at the time.

Bertol was fascinating to my young mind. He told the best stories and I never saw the wrinkles that mapped a lifetime of living.

Over time, we retreated to our own little corner.

We played penny rummy, ate oysters with abandon and laughed and talked.

When the younger Hortons retired to BC, Bertol and his wife moved into the seniors’ lodge in town.

The rummy games became less frequent as I became a teenager and discovered boys.

But they went on.

I was living two provinces away when I got the news he had died.

I grieved the loss of my friend.

Looking back, I realize what gift I had in Bertol.

The stories, the laughter, the wisdom, gained from a lifetime of experiences.

I wish you all have a Bertol in your lives.



fiona.grisswell@100milefreepress.net

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