"Dad, lose the geezer look."
She said it with a bit of an edge and on the eve of another birthday.
I stared at my 17-year-old and threatened to give her all of my "birthday paddles."
She replied with, "Oh, yeah? Not likely!"
"How so, my daughter?"
"That would take you all day!"
"Honey," I called to my wife, "cancel that second phone line."
The friendly bantering suddenly took on a different tone, and with a pouting lower lip, my daughter cocked her head to one side. I melted and winked. She gave me a hug and raced off to her "temporary" phone line!
Who first coined that "geezer" word? It's not Biblical, but it is found in Webster's as slang for an eccentric old man, or, rarely, a woman. If Im going to be classified as "old," then I want to be eccentrically old, which would mean, literally, out of center or irregular, out of the ordinary.
Hang with me on this.
Do you have any older people in your life that are out of the ordinary? What does "out of the ordinary" mean? Maybe I could ask it this way: What makes a geezer?
Here are some ideas that have come from my recent ponderings.
Geezers are easy to spot. At the Soldotna Sports Center, when the national anthem is played, they are the first to stand. They hold their hats over their hearts and proudly sing along without embarrassment. They know all the words and believe them. They saw Pearl Harbor without having to pay for the tour. They remember the Great Depression, Normandy, Hitler and know where Guadal Canal is.
They remember the atomic age, Korean conflict, the Cold War, the jet age and moon
landings -- not to mention Vietnam.
If you bump into a geezer on the sidewalk, he apologizes. Pass one on the street and you will get a nod or a tip of the hat if you are a lady. Geezers trust strangers and are courtly to women. They hold the door at the post office with a kind "after you."
When walking down the street with a woman, be it his wife, daughter, sister, mother or lady friend, a geezer will make sure she walks on the inside for protection.
Geezers get embarrassed if someone uses profanity, particularly in the presence of women and children. Geezers do not brag unless it's about their grandchildren in Little League.
Geezers are easy to please. Just listen to one of their stories, sit at their table for coffee or maybe walk beside them down the aisle at the store.
They like to be on the giving side of money more than the receiving. They are not financially frivolous; they just have big hearts. They never had anything given to them on a silver platter or made outrageous demands of their bosses. They just reaped what they sowed, believing that an honest day's work will always get an honest day's pay.
We need more geezers in our community, and we need to know how to love them and thank them for their contributions. You may be thinking, "He doesn't know the eccentric seniors in my life!"
You're right. I don't. But I do believe we're going to have a great void in this country when the members of "the greatest generation" are called to their eternal reward.
The biblical call to all of us "betweenies" -- that is "geezers" to some and "young'uns" to others --can be found in Jeremiah 6:16: Thus says the Lord, "Stand in the ways and see and ask for the old paths, where the good way is and walk in it; and then you will find rest for your souls."
I need to close this and go see my grandma at the senior center.
By the way, don't call my grandma a "geezer" or she may punch you into tomorrow!
J.D. Duncan is the pastor at Soldotna First Assembly of God. The phone number is 262-7416. The e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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