By: Sporty King, Uncle, CHP, CSME
Before moving to Charlotte, from October 1997-June 2010 I led a monthly session called The Golden Brick Road: The Golden Path to Adventure at five Chicago Department on Aging Centers. During the class I read my poetry and spoke with seniors about continuing to enjoy the aging journey.
It was an intimidating undertaking (at 38)... standing before senior citizens, suggesting how they might better enjoy their lives. My first visit to each of the centers started with my wondering whether or not they'd say "Come on, Sonny, we've heard all of that before...." Each visit ended with thanks, nods of approval, even comments on how proud my mother must be of me. All of which encouraged me, and gave me the faith and courage to stand before "my seniors" and tell them that they needed to laugh, live, love and rest more. And as they agreed to do so, they reminded me to do the same.
I stood before them and beamed my gracious, humble and handsome smile. And made gestures and faces of the characters in my words that helped them laugh and love me more. Oh and how they complimented me on my colorful sweaters and stylish sports jackets. They talked among themselves, and outside, about the light I brought into their lives. And they shared me, like proud parents, aunts and uncles, big brothers and sisters.
My seniors looked forward to me coming to see them monthly, and looked forward to seeing me. They knew that whenever I left their center, our spirits had made the connection they needed to keep them going.
In 2000 I created 17 poems by using the words and thoughts of those who attended my monthly sessions. As so many people have heard seniors say, "I've forgotten more than you'll ever remember...,” we created a collection of poetry called Remembering More Than You'll Ever Forget. As you speak to a senior, you'll find this new statement to be true. And you'll need to remember to understand, as I taught them to recite before we started each class:
“I’m not getting senile! I’m exercising my Right to Forget.”
There were times where I wrote from the words they gave me... and times where we wrote together... using their names, favorite colors, numbers or expressions. Every time was a blessing. A blessing that led me to coin the title “Seasoned” Citizens… for we are each seasoned with a little something different, and a gift that makes the stew true. The words in this poem with capitalized first letters are primarily those of the audience. Some themes used were LIFE, LOVE, and SEASONED (as used in this poem).
Seasoned With Joy
the Songs we Sing Are Delightful to Our Spirit...
(it’s Necessary that who we really Are, is Something we know)
they make us happy because we Deserve to be Aware of Our Options.
for we Are “Seasoned Citizens” Always on the go.
with a life to Share and Eyes to See
with the courage to Dare to be Obedient and free
to Enjoy the Oasis that builds our Solid ground
not Only Are we glad to be Alive... we’re Oh, so happy to be Around
because life is So Sweet, in fact it’s Sweeter than honey
Some of us Share Our love, and Some Share Our Energy.
we Associate Ourselves with Excellence
and Our Ocean is filled with joy
we make Every Effort to grace the lives of each girl and Every boy.
the New challenge we face Everyday is getting up
you See, waking up is actually a breeze
we thank the Angel of Mercy ( for, never the less)
we have the Opportunity to fall Down On Our knees.
the concept of OLD is Nice
we realize it means Onward Looms Dessert
it’s Dear and Exciting to us
because it’s where we Now happen to be
we can’t Explain the Next hurdle
yet we know it’s One that we’ll See
So, Seasoned with Joy is what we Are
Distinctive... Deserving... Delivered... Dynamic
you don’t want us to Add Dangerous
So, Enjoy us as Seasoned Citizens
and remember (Above All) Adore us
I remind you, as I reminded them of an Excerpt from the book "Your Name Came to Mind, 2001" : "If you have given birth to a child, volunteered your time or bought a raffle ticket to support a worthy cause... you have saved a life. Don't worry about counting each life, just know that you have saved many. Today you have the chance to save another... beginning with yours. Never forget that."
About the Author:
Sporty King, Uncle, CHP, CSME helps people become better listeners through his use of fun, positive acronyms and poetry. He is a recipient of AATH’s Esther Hyatt Spirit of AATH Award, and author of 8 books of inspirational poetry and words of wisdom including How to be UGLY, and STUFF Happens. His company, The Top Line… LLC, reminds people that there are no bottom line results without Top Line consideration. www.sportyking.com