Um…aren’t YOU supposed to set an example?

This past weekend I celebrated my 50th birthday. I had an awesome mostly pain free day, which is not something that happens often. I suffer from Fibromyalgia, so some days are better than others. Thanks to the prayers and positive thoughts of friends all over the world, the day of my outing was one of the good ones, and for that I was grateful. Thank you all!

My destination was a local historical sight St. Marie Among the Hurons, that was having their First Light ceremony. 5000 candle lanterns lit the pathways from one exhibit to the other. The effect was like stepping back in time, and it was beautiful!

Since the sight is a small one, and hundreds (possibly thousands) of people show up yearly to take in the First Light tradition, they had shuttle buses running from the local Wal-mart parking lot about four miles away. By the time we got their the parking lot was full so we were directed to the Wal-mart parking lot to park and we climbed aboard a rented school bus to be transported back to the sight. The bus ride went smoothly, and soon we were enjoying the atmosphere of the historical settlement, and the candle lanterns.

I hadn’t been to this particular museum sight since I was a child, and stepping onto the grounds brought back memories of my Father whom I lost to cancer over eight years ago. As we entered the auditorium to catch the performance of the Eastview Secondary School Choir my thoughts drifted to the last time I had been here with my Father. We had missed the beginning of the concert due to our detour back to the Wal-mart for parking, so when we reached the auditorium a section of the choir was in the middle of a song. We stood by the wall as they finished, and found a seat while the entire choir was putting themselves back together onstage before beginning the next song.

As I settled myself into my seat and the first notes of the next song began I looked at my husband with a tear in my eye, and he quickly realized that the choir was about to perform “Danny Boy” my Father’s favorite song. I knew right then that Dad was with me, celebrating my 50th right along with me. I sat in my seat tears streaming down my face while the choir sang, my mind tumbling back to a time when I was a child and my Father and I had sat in this very same auditorium taking in educational talks about Jesuit Missionaries in Canada. It was that first trip that developed my fascination for learning about Canada’s Native culture, something that still holds great interest for me.

We left the auditorium to tour the rest of the mission, but my mind was still in the past and as a result I was as fascinated by everything as a child is seeing it for the first time. We moved through the grounds taking in the exhibits and demonstrations, tasting healing teas in the tiny wooden “hospital” building, sampling hot chocolate in the main cabin, and watching the blacksmith ply his trade in the cold.

When I began to tire we returned to the main building heading into the “French Cafe'” for a bite to eat and a coffee to warm up. There was a family of musicians performing in the cafe’ and we ended up sitting there for far longer than we realized, enjoying the music and the atmosphere. The next time I looked at my watch I realized that we didn’t have much time before the last scheduled shuttle bus back to our car. Reluctantly we left the cafe’ and headed outside to the bus line.

It was at this point that my evening changed. There were hundreds of us lined up out front to board the shuttle buses. My husband and I found the end of the line and joined knowing it was going to take a bit of standing in the cold damp night before we would get the opportunity to board a shuttle bus and head to our car. If I stand in the cold and damp for too long it triggers my pain, so I knew that it would not be long before I started to feel the cold.

We’d been standing in line for about half an hour, and I was starting to lose the feeling in my toes but we were close to boarding a bus, so I shuffled my feet said nothing and waited. Just then a group of 6 – 10 seniors citizens walked right up and stood in front of us. I tapped the gentleman in front of me on the shoulder and said “excuse me, but the end of the line is back there.” pointing behind me. He turned and looked saying “why are all those people standing behind you?” (please note, he had just walked past “all those people standing behind me” and knew full well why they were standing there.) “Because you butted into the middle of the line sir.” I replied as politely as possible (which by this time, as cold and achy as I was becoming was not an easy task) “Oh did I?” was the old man’s reply (again he knew full well that he had, this was no fade brained senior) “Oh well no harm! We’ll all get there eventually!” he said and turned away from me.

Now in this line behind me I had seen Mothers with babes in arms, and at least one person in a wheel chair, but here was this able bodied senior line jumping and feeling absolutely NO shame over it!  As the line jumper and friends carried on a conversation in front of me I turned to my husband saying “You know I was always taught to respect my elders, but I was also always taught that my elders were an example of who I should be, and THAT man is NO example of how to act!”

Truth be told I was shocked by the behavior of these seniors. These people just jumped a line people had been standing in for half an hour in the cold, and thought they were entitled to do so because they were seniors. I am sure there were many people in that line (myself included) who would gladly have let them into line ahead of them had they asked, but they didn’t ask, they just assumed that because of their age they were entitled to line jump, and therein lies my problem with them.

Most of us (well if you’re my age at least) were taught to respect our elders, to be the one to offer them your seat on the bus, or hold doors open for them, and to in general be respectful. However, being old doesn’t make you special, it doesn’t mean you get to automatically assume you can do things such as line jump and everyone will be okay with it. Last time I checked, the elderly had one job, to set an example for the rest of us as to how we should conduct ourselves in public. All I could think at the time was, “if these are the seniors who are setting an example for the rest of the world, no wonder it’s going to hell in a handbasket!”

You KNOW the world is in trouble when even senior citizens start acting like entitled spoiled brats!

Until Next Time

Try a little peace and love!

The Photographer

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