It could well be a millennials worst nightmare: starting the day with 51 geezers in one room. For me, geezer is anyone over the age of 55 and under the age of dead. But that is exactly how we started our day. It is the second Thursday of the month. It is not January or July. That means at 8:30 am, the Watertown Area Retired Teachers Association will meet. And we ARE geezers.
There was a time that I would have envisioned 51 rocking chairs with the women knitting and the men looking through the window to the park at the pretty young things that are there with their young charges. Conversation for the ladies would be limited to grandkids, health problems, and the old farts to whom they are married. Conversation among the men would be limited to fishing, health problems, and gas. Following a nutritious breakfast of oatmeal and toast, the meeting would begin for those who could hear (or those who cared), everyone would nod acceptance to whatever issue was raised (or more likely, nod off!), and adjournment would bring a sigh of relief followed by a steady stream of walkers, canes, and wheel chairs headed for the door. After all, geezers, by definition, are old.
The conversation was lively. Not one complaint was raised about health issues. Not one person was unengaged. The din of involved conversation was amazing. Laughter rang out frequently. The issues of the day were cussed and discussed, and then it was time for the program. Yoga! I wish you could have seen the young "geezers" as they experienced the stretches, the breathing, the excitement inherent in finding center. These old farts were totally engrossed, raising their arms, twisting their heads, and putting aside any thought of non-involvement. After all, we were all teachers, and we know out lot in life is to do as the teacher says!
Following the program, it was time for the meeting. Lively discussion ensued. Problems were debated and solved. Thoughts invoked thoughts. Sharing took place. Action was taken. The overarching theme of all discussion? What can we do to help others? How can we best put our money where our mouth is? How can we best volunteer to become part of the solution, not part of the problem? Initial agreement was neither desired or expected. Willingness to listen to all sides, however, was! And of course, there was the 50/50 raffle, where half the money goes into a fund for worthy causes like state and local scholarships to existing teachers, and half goes back to one of our members. Likewise, this was the day to collect monies for students in need of supplies, clothing, etc. Between the two, over $350 was raised--all with the intent of helping others (and that slight but ever driving thought of winning!) Upon adjournment, the conversation continued. Friends talked with friends. Members helped put things away. And to my knowledge, everyone left with a smile in his/her face! Now THAT'S a meeting.
Yup. We were 51 Geezers. But we were not OLD! In fact, I'm pretty sure should a rumble break out between the millennials and the geezers, I know where I'd put my money. In the kitty for more supplies! And then I'd get right in there and do my best interpretation of the karate kid and show those whippersnappers a thing or two. Or maybe, that's just in my head! Whatever! Watertown Area Retired Teachers Association--where everyone old is young again. And everyone is loved!