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Things I Have Learned: Give us Elvis

Today’s Wisdom: When you start recognizing that you’re having fun, life can be delightful. Jane Birkin

My wife and I recently stopped in at a south Texas beach bar. There was live music, dancing, singing, and beverages galore. The place was packed, and everyone was having a great time. We joined the crowd and stayed for two hours. Oh yes, it was also spring break season. You can imagine the scene. Actually, no you maybe can’t. The odd thing was that there was no one in the bar under 65 years old. Many were significantly older. It was strange.

This was no random accident. All of these people came to that bar because they wanted to be there. They wanted to have a good time and enjoy the music and comradery.

That same idea was put vividly into my mind a year or so ago when I accompanied my mother on a visit to her friend who lives in an assisted living facility. The place had a couple of musicians doing entertainment in the lobby. It was a fine show of mostly old musical standards, but I couldn’t help but notice that the audience seemed bored. It was pleasant music, but it wasn’t stirring their souls.

After the couple finished and we were having coffee around the tables, I asked the ladies present if they preferred a program like we had just heard or if they would more enjoy some old rock’n roll, maybe like Elvis. My mother’s 95-year-old friend perked right up and said, “We may be old, but we aren’t dead. Give us Elvis.”

The image in my mind of old folks does not include rock ’n roll party scenes. Old folks are supposed to be calm, dignified and maybe a little boring. Their music should be the Ray Coniff Orchestra, Mitch Miller or maybe a polka or some old country western. Elvis? No way!

At some risk to my own reputation I have started taking a one-man old time rock’n roll show to some senior facilities. They love it. The toes tap, the heads bob. and no one falls asleep. It’s great.

I have learned that we older folks still like our fun. Don’t be making assumptions about our age changing who we are. We still want to boogie. I’m just sayin.’

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