I can remember as a young boy watching older people around my aunt's general store in the hills of Arkansas. I would go spend one, sometimes two weeks with her and my grandad, whose house was just across the street from my aunt's store.
I always loved the chance to get away from mom and dad for a little bit, and besides aunt Nola would let me eat candy and drink a coke through the day. I got to help unload the feed trucks, grocery truck and talk with the gas truck driver while he was filling the gas tanks at the store. It was a big experience for me and I did this on a regular basis from the time I was five on up. My grandad ran a sawmill pretty much up til the time he died, so I got to hang around and watch, he wouldn't let me near the sled that carried the logs or the open blade of the sawmill. These days OSHA would have shut him down in a second, but back then no one had ever heard of OSHA.
I used to enjoy talking to people that came into the store, it was a different time back then. People used to have time to stop and visit and if they didn't know you, they stopped, introduced themselves and soon you were talking like you had known them all of your life. Too bad we have lost that in today's society.
I also watched a lot of the older people hobble and limp around, some had to walk with canes. I used to wonder why they seemed to have such a hard time getting around, you don't think about these things much when you're five or six. People with crooked fingers, some of them their hands shaking so badly that they could barely count out money at the register. I have watched my grandad take what seemed like forever to put on his socks and boots all the while wishing him to hurry up so we can get to the sawmill.
That's been about 45 years ago and now, I pause when putting my socks and shoes on after getting up. Not because I am reflecting on what I need to do today but because this is one of the most painful activities that I do every day. I don't moan or complain about it, but it just hit me a few weeks ago that, I'm that guy, that I used to watch as a kid.