The ramblings of a woman,
wife, & mother, who loves:
Jesus / my man / the three,
learning about parenting /
mamahood / childbirth,
cooking foods healthy /
international / yummy,
pretending to garden /
write / design,
attempting to run /
exercise / lift weights,
enjoying traveling /
camping / adventures,
finding ways to love /
serve / sacrifice for others.

It is not to say she does these things
with style or grace, or even skill.

I wish I was a story telling old man... or not?

September 26, 2007 - 12:30 AM

On Saturdays, before I go to the garden, I swing by Dan's, hand over my pocket change and get a refill half coffee / half cappuccino. This takes place a little after 6AM since Dan's opens at 6, sometimes earlier. Am I their first customer? Not a chance.

There were already 5 cars that arrived to Dan's ahead of mine. The inhabitants of those cars were all gray haired men, with their own mugs or refillable containers. They have left the comfort of their cars with leather seats with butt warmers for hard plastic chairs that have been sitting out all night and are wet with dew. They sit in front of Dan's, which is merely a gas station, and shoot the breeze about life, argue about sports and reminisce about the past.

This fascinates me and oh, how I wish I could join their club.

One of my favorite past times is sitting and listening to old men shoot the breeze. I love hearing their stories that they have told a thousand times before. I love how they know so much about the sports they love and the years and dates just drip from their lips like a mother's with her child's birth-weight. I love the fact that they can congregate anywhere, as long as there is some form of coffee... gas stations, diners, etc. I love that they also just sit for long periods of time, not saying anything, just watching the world, reading the paper in a goup, yet no one is offended. I also love the eras they grew up in and how that has shaped, for good or bad, who they were and are.

Josh shares my same fascination and he too wishes he could join their club. My husband and I love eating at restaurant dives in strange towns and we inevitably run into these groups of men and, without even trying to eavesdrop, end up hearing them spin their tales. They speak loudly, either from past ear damage from wars or factories, or they are speaking up for the others who have those conditions.

My grandfather-in-law is one of the sweetest old men I know and talking with him always brings joy into my heart. He too can spin marvelous tales of the past and give you play by plays of the days (base)ball games. In strange ways he embodies a lot of what I feel like my own grandpas would have been like if I was given the chance to go back and enjoy their company once more.

Josh and I went on a Friday night date and stopped by the local high school to watch the end of the game and there in the back, in the free seats that we were enjoying, was the group of old men I normally see at Dan's. And sure enough, the next morning at 6AM, there they all were, double in number now since the football season is officially going strong.

They too, like Josh and I, were reeling from the kid who should've caught the pass that lost the game and oh, how I wanted to add my two cents into their conversation. But I couldn't, I wasn't wearing their club clothes... and I have work to do, a garden to weed... and I have to get back to kids at home, who will be waking and wanting breakfast... and I just don't have the time to sit in front of a gas station all day and not do anything...

Maybe this is why older women do not congregate like this, outside, in open public? They have to be doing something else? Quilting? Their hands have to be busy, they are used to watching kids and doing something else? I sat in the line at Caribou getting my $1 off latte (Thank you Leah!) and was preparing checks for a bank deposit, when the cashier says, "I'm sorry we don't take checks." To which I reply, "This isn't for you, this is for my next stop."

A friend's older grandmother, whom I love and adore, will talk to me for hours about God and life and being a wife and mother but I can assure you we would not be sitting still for it. We'd be making a run with the local police or going to get that good deal on sirloins or something... but not sitting still. And dur

Response to I wish I was a story telling old man... or not?

  • Holly said on September 26, 2007 - 10:05 AM

    Dana, that was beautiful! My heart was riveted the entire time I was reading, for it feels the same way you do! I used to count it a blessing to have the opening shift at the coffee shop I used to work at! The old men would love to sit and chat and even give me fun stories to reflect on the rest of the day! Praise God for keeping the old with us for awhile!

  • Wendy said on September 26, 2007 - 12:27 PM

    This brought back great memories of the diner I used to work at in high school. The "regulars" were always old men that would come in about the same time and sit for at least a couple hours with their coffee. There is a group of older ladies that meets at Capanna on Wednesday mornings. I go in there and have my quiet time. They occasionally talk to me about Evie and ask questions about whether she is a good baby, etc. :)

  • Dana said on September 26, 2007 - 12:55 PM

    See, they are everywhere! :)! It is a shame that our culture does not put more emphasis on those relationships like other cultures do?Anyone know why that is? Though, I can't help but think, "Why don't older women sit in the dive-type of establishments?" Have you ever seen a group of old women gathered outside a gas station before? Not that there is anything wrong with that, just curious. I suppose it is just like hanging out at the auto shop? :)!

  • Rob said on September 26, 2007 - 3:24 PM

    Dana, I think your comment about the women just being busy doing other things probably answered your question about why older women don't sit in dive-type establishments. I know that would probably be Angie's excuse someday. Oh, as far as getting caught up in the old men's conversations, as someone who has participated in a few of those (working in small town Iowa as a reporter has its interesting moments), it's not easy to get away once you do start talking. the best example I can give is when I visited this hunting supply warehouse in Milo after a local farmer was arrested for murdering a neighbor about five years ago. I went in there to get a comment or two from people about it and pretty soon, even though I had what I needed, I'm still there about 30 minutes later talking about hunting (something I knew little about) and the town itself. Also, if you're younger than they are, never count on talking that much...:) Then again, you may not have to...:)

  • Dana said on September 27, 2007 - 12:37 PM

    Isn't that wonderful! I remember this one dive we went to and there was a table full of gray haired farmers who were getting their 10AM coffee break in. They spoke about harvest and work but then they switched to talking about going to the casino and scoring big there and the adventure of going on a chartered bus, etc. When their conversation went that direction, their age faded and they seemed like a group of high school boys... it was wonderful!

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Begin Our Adventures of Fall/Winter 2012 to CA, MN, CO
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Begin Our Adventures of Summer 2012 to MN and CO
   Vacation to the North Shore and Cabin
   Boulder for the Summer
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   The Drive to CO/UT Begins
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