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When did we get old?

Bridging generations!

How do we do that? Does it just happen by virtue of who we are?

I believe so.

During one of our Artist and Writer’s Retreats, which Al and I have hosted for over 21 years, one of the younger attendees mentioned that everyone there was old, that we needed some young blood. I was shocked when I looked around and said, “When did we get old?” It hadn’t dawned on me until then that we had all changed and we were older. Most of us started in our 40s, now we are in our 60s.

I readily agreed that we needed the youth with progressive ideas, new sounds and new technology because they complete what we have started. When I listen to the young artists they open me to things I have not yet thought about. They have the potential of greatness but we who are older need to build bridges of confidence and encouragement for them. That is how we fit into each other’s lives? Have we built bridges for them to cross over? Will they recognize what we have done? Probably not! Did we when we were young. I don’t think so.

I was having breakfast with Jane Stewart and my daughters a few weeks ago. Some would say, “Who?” Others would say “Oh yes, I remember Jane Stewart, she taught me how to work.”

Jane Stewart and her husband, Bob, owned The Hub. You might ask, “What’s that?” The old-timers would say, “It’s where Tequila’s is now and, yes, she gave me my first job.”

Reminiscing over breakfast about the days of early Pagosa, we talked about the first stop light and a fireworks show. Do you know who brought those fireworks to Pagosa? It was Jane Stewart. She had someone fly her to La Junta to buy them. She had no idea how to set fireworks up, but she thought it couldn’t be that hard.

There was also the time when she walked right into Judge Hyde’s courtroom and he stopped court to empty the parking lot for her noon business. That’s got to be a first.

Do you remember the free green ice cream cones on St. Patrick’s Day?

There were many firsts during those days. So many of Pagosa’s youth got their first job at the Hub and Jane Stewart taught ethics to the kids who were fortunate enough to work for her. She built a bridge for many of our children to cross over into their future work place. When our family was enjoying the fireworks this July, one of them said, “Do you remember when …”

I am reminded of a poem, “Building The Bridge,” by Will A Dromgoole.

“A pilgrim, going a lone highway

Came at evening, cold and gray

To a chasm, deep and vast and wide.

The old man crossed in the twilight dim.

The chasm held no fears for him

But he paused when he reached the other side

And build a bridge to span the tide.

“Old man” said a fellow pilgrim near,

“Why, waste your time in building here?

Your journey ends with the close of day

You never again will pass this way.

You’ve crossed the chasm deep and wide

Why build ye here at eventide?”

The pilgrim raised his old gray head,

“My friend, in the path I’ve come,” he said,

“There follows after me today

A fair haired youth who must pass this way.

The chasm which held no fears for me

To the fair haired youth may a pitfall be.

He, too, must cross in the twilight dim.

My friend, I am building this bridge for him.”

We have all crossed over many bridges which we have not built. Have we taken time to build a bridge over the chasm deep and wide for a fair-haired youth who must pass that way where a pitfall may be and who will cross at twilight dim?

Many times when we mention Pagosa, we roll our eyes and say, “That’s soooooo Pagosa,” but there is no other place on earth I would rather be. It’s not only the beautiful mountains we live around, but the people who have come and stayed and built some strong bridges for the youth of this community to pass over. So, as we grow older, as I’ve been told, and the young seem to be growing younger, I want to say thank you to those who have cared enough to build bridges that we have all walked over from time to time.

The final brushstroke: Whether visible or invisible, bridges are being built by virtue of who we are.

Comments from readers

We appreciate your thoughts and comments, please e-mail bettyslade@centurytel.net. We have been given a place to voice who we are and what we have to say as artists. Take advantage of this opportunity. Your words might be a bridge for another artist.

“Good early morning, Wow, my mind is noisy right now, but once again clamoring from the left side. I reread your article, ‘Riding off without the Horse.’ So how do we curb our noisy minds?  Let them run free, like horses out in the field?  My husband calls it ‘rolodexing.’  No doubt most people can conjure in their minds a full card rolodex spinning wildly out of control, stopping randomly at this card or that, with no purpose but to torture the mind and memory, raise the heart beat, and in my case blood pressure.  All this in the middle of the night, when all the night sounds are magnified, including my blood pumping through my worried heart.  So how do we curb our noisy minds?”

Kathy,

Michigan

“In the column ‘Riding Off without the Horse’ — what’s that old saying, ‘patience is a virtue?’

Ideas can come in a minute or a lifetime. But when it happens it can be golden; jump on it and it will take you farm.”

GD

Mesa, Ariz.

Artist’s quote

“Fill a space in a beautiful way.” — Georgia O’Keeffe.