The Wrinkled in Time

Today’s guest post comes from Clyde.

A warning: do not ever give me wife any of your prized canned goods. She will turn them into a decoration.

Several people over the last thirty years have given her canned jellies, pickles, vegetables, salsa, and mixed concoctions of uncertain origin and purpose—not one of which we ever opened, even the mystery jars. They held a prized place long past their rot-by-date. Surely it is the effect of reading too many Country Living magazines, and its fifty clones. In the perfectly-circular orbit of these magazines and their TV equivalents, old things are decorations, if not in their natural state, then in some re-purposed form.

Lamp Window

For all those thirty years I have shook my head in puzzled bemusement at this, an internal shake of the head only, being the wisely silent partner in our interior decorating. Over those same thirty years, and a few years before that, we collected a variety of household objects de fonction which were the working elements of my childhood. They were not collected to give me the warm glow of nostalgia, which some have, but to be objets d’art, to provide ambiance and grace, or color or poise or form or whatever are the components of interior design.

Rain Lady

It is hard to imagine any objects of current manufacture being used in interior design in 2053 or on the The Antiques Roadshow, 2113. What will the magazine of 2053 be called? What word will hold the charm that the word country does today? I suppose by then suburban will hold a certain cachet, depending on where people will be living, assuming that they are, living that is.

But why is: if old things are perceived as prized decorations of beauty and interest, why aren’t old people?

65 thoughts on “The Wrinkled in Time”

  1. Or, is it simply in the eye of the beholder?

    I find working with elderly and disabled people to be immensely satisfying and filled with grace. Listening to the stories older people tell about their lives puts everything into perspective for me.

    Let go of all you hold dear and listen, listen.

    Liked by 9 people

  2. Morning all – nice piece this morning, Clyde. My guess is that in 50 years, some of our silly stuff WILL be a decorator’s dream. Because 50 years ago, I’m sure nobody thought their current everyday items would someday be considered “art”.

    As to your question – no clue. Of course you can’t put an elderly person on a doily on a side table and arrange them just the way you want them and have them stay that way forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good morning. I am starting to reach the old people stage myself. Do I care if I am not regarded as attractive and interesting? My Dad said he didn’t care what people thought about him. I should follow his advice. However, I do care a little about what others think about me and I do make at least some effort to take care of my appearance. Should I dye my white hair and use something to reduce my wrinkles?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I can see it in my minds’ eye: a bunch of aging hippies in their tie-dye shirts, love beads and Birkenstock sandals grooving at the Minnehaha Park. I dare you.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ll be back to say more about this. I’m glad to see you raise this question, Clyde. In our society we value young and new things far more than we should, especially when it comes to people.

    I won a little photography contest once with a photo that was created to celebrate lovely things that are worn and well-used. My photo shows the hands of my friend, Marilynn.

    I think I can share that here:
    http://www.pbase.com/otfchallenge/image/129484676

    Liked by 6 people

  5. Oddly (or, coincidentally) as I was scrubbing my 1960s era Le Crueset fry pan this morning, I was wondering what might happen to it. So, in anticipation of it have some value in the future, I scrubbed the logo a bit to expose it more. My house is full of old things as well, some of it from family, more from thrift and antique shops. My sister is a thrift store (to sell in her antique shop) addict and has taught me to think about labels and brand names that hold more value than younger items.

    But as to being treated better as an elder person…or, how I have valued the elders in my life…I don’t know the answer to your question, Clyde. I adored my grandparents and I enjoy working with the elders (of which, they are the majority) in our local Sons of Norway lodge. And I keep close my younger friends as time ages me more.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love that birdhouse, Clyde. And now I’m wondering what the heck your wife makes out of canned goods?

    I have always loved old people, although my perception of what old is has changed dramatically as I’ve aged myself. Now for me to consider someone old they have to be at least ten years older than me; back in my youth, anyone in their thirties or forties would qualify.

    Wisdom and grace isn’t something that is suddenly bestowed on people at, say, sixty or seventy years of age. If you’ve been unkind and selfish all your life, chances are that you’ll be a lonely old codger that no one wants to be around.

    You’ve raised some interesting questions, Clyde. What, indeed, will become future generations’ collectors’ items from our era. Something made of plastic, is my guess.

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    1. i find all my wisdom and grace arrived on my 60th birthday. i wasnt a wise or graceful person at all before not ive got it up the ying yang. woo hoo dignity and grace r us is what they say around my house. dad quit haveing so much wisdom and grace we cant handle it.

      i think clyde that in 2056 the ambiance for the hipsters then 70 or so will be to hit the button on their wearable (fit bits will have evolved into shirt buttons and they will change the pictures on the wall the color scheme of the room the look outside the window and the music they have piped into the headphones they have implanted. ther will still be a refrigerator used as the central place for refrigerator magnets to post art, meetings and shoutouts to other family members as they walk in and out of the house to their lives in the preretirement community for 70 year olds. we will all need to be working til 87 at that time because the milleniums are now the lead group and dont exactly know what to do with that agenda. the obama girls have been involved in the socail and politically correct leadership for 30 or 40 years and the bush twins each had twins who were named x y and z and a. they started over. the bush youth are not involved in politics. what was the deal with that family thought of as a good political family anyway?

      ot … off to dr john in st apul today. it looks wonderful out there. i will check back

      Liked by 2 people

    2. She leaves them out as decorations on shelves. We have a wide countertop between the kitchen and the dining area. About 50% of it has decorations on it, like olive oils in tall thin bottles we bought in Napa. I am not complaining. Just making a joke or it, as do our kids and grandkids.

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        1. Dusting a few jars is small change. There are over 200 carvings on display in this house plus a chess set. She doers not mind dusting.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. There is an aesthetic in Japan called Wabi Sabi. It celebrates the beauty of things that are old, imperfect, used and simple. The Japanese have long since concluded that westerners cannot or will not understand this, and they generally duck the question when a westerner asks them to define the wabi sabi standard of beauty.

    I’m not wise enough to know why our society puts such high value on the new and young. Is it because our nation was created by rejecting tradition in favor of new principles of justice and power? Is it because we are so wedded to science, which endlessly finds new ideas and makes new things?

    I love the stories of older people. And yet if you challenge me, I’ll admit that getting older doesn’t guarantee that people get smarter. PJ is right about that. There are as many old fools as young fools. On the whole, I find the stories of older folks more compelling than the stories told by young folks.

    When I was first introduced to the notion of wabi sabi I was enthusiastic about it. Then someone pointed out that Japanese men considered Madeline Albright hot. I gulped and admitted to myself that I probably am a westerner after all.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love your sketch of the birdhouse, Clyde. Wonderful! That house was invented in Minnesota by a man named Dick Peterson, so the nesting box is called the Peterson Box.

    I was once commissioned to write a book about bluebirds. Given my ignorance about them, I arranged to write a whole book based on the wisdom of Dick Peterson. A resident of Brooklyn Center, Dick was known as “Mr Bluebird.” He designed this angular bluebird house after many decades of experimentation. Dick was a passionate advocate for bluebirds and an altogether fascinating fellow.

    The biggest surprise of learning about bluebirds was discovering how much bluebird fans hate each other, and the center of the conflict is box design. Different designs have their adherents. People who believe in one type of box are convinced that all the “wrong” boxes allow predators to kill nesting bluebirds, which ends up making each group regard the other groups as “bluebird murderers.” The bitterness was no less than you’d find in a debate on the Confederate flag or gay marriage.

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    1. Thank you two, and PJ, for the compliments. It is a close up of a larger pastel based on a place in the Gustavus Linneas Arboritum, a pleasant place, not much of an Arb. The umbrella sketch is of an old woman who would often walk in light rain in her white track suit with that geisha umbrella.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. The only debate I’m aware of that centers on bluebird nestboxes centers around the size of the entry hole, and it’s a debate that to some extent has to do with location. If you live in an area where starlings aren’t an issue, a bigger entry hole (as in the Peterson Box) is perfectly fine. I have never known birders to be bitter enemies or hateful to each other.
      To the contrary, I’ve always found birders very supportive of each other. Unlike mushroom “hunters” who often are loath to share their hunting grounds, birders readily share information about where certain birds are spotted. At least that has been my experience – as both a birder and a mushroom gatherer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry. I was away from the Trail and didn’t see this. You are right about the size of the hole being a critical issue. But birds aren’t the only predators that kill bluebirds. Raccoons and house cats also take many. The shape of the Peterson box is meant to deny a perch that would allow a mammalian predator from reaching in to grab the nesting mother and/or baby bluebirds. Dick Peterson concluded the shape wasn’t protective enough, so he added sharp things around the hole. Other nesting box designs used other tricks to defeat predators. I didn’t believe Dick at first about how bluebirders fought, but I later saw evidence of it.

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        1. If indeed I did, tim, it was because I had no intention of sharing my morel hunting grounds knowing full well that the season would be long gone by then. Sorry to have led you astray. I can’t even offer to show you some bluebird houses to compensate.

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    3. I enjoyed your bluebird book very much, Steve. It was actually the first book of yours that I found at the library – even before the wolf book!

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      1. Thanks (I think). Actually, I was speaking for my species. Most of us didn’t think old people particularly lovely, so we don’t expect ourselves to be, either. Those who have gotten to know old folks up close and personal (Krista comes to mind) know differently, and know to look farther than the surface.

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  9. Clyde, I do look forward to your posts that show some of your artwork. As always, today’s works are delightful.

    Why aren’t old people considered things of interest and beauty? I don’t know, but the kids that are young enough don’t consider old people ugly and boring – the proof is in my almost-2-year-old twin grandsons. Not only do they like me and like being around me, but they also love my mom, who is even older and more wrinkly than I am.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Follow the money. The trend is to value older people for what they have not necessarily who they are. The advertising of many products, from reverse mortgages to Viagra, is now being directed toward the older population. We (well, at least some of us) have money. Others want us to spend it. I hope to spend it all and then some, following the wisdom of Jack Handy: “I hope that after I die, people will say of me: “That guy sure owed
    me a lot of money.””

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I never ever buy anything from an infomercial. Until a month ago. For years, I’ve coined the phrase, “crepe paper skin” as my description for the razor-thin wrinkles starting to creep down my body. First, the neck; then the upper arms; the stomach and upper thighs follow. I can too easily imagine this thinning, wrinkly skin from my forehead down to my ankles.

    One night, an infomercial advertised ” Crepe Erase” and I was immediately hooked in. It boasted of a creme which made the tiny wrinkly all but disappear after a few uses. Of course, there were the before and after images. Since I’d already been referring to my thinning skin with this crepe word, I went for it! $50 and many uses later, I realized I’d been scammed.

    Liked by 1 person


  12. Fields Of Gold
    “I never made promises lightly
    And there have been some that I’ve broken
    But I swear in the days still left
    We’ll walk in fields of gold”

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        1. i find once you get to know a person you dont see pretty or ugly any more. all you see is the inner person. its too bad you have to be reminded all the people who you really like who are not someone who would be a person you would pursue because of their appeal.
          old people are revered by knowledgeable people who are older too. its the young pups who are infallible who have the wrong pretense. they belittle anyone who is not them or their group no t realizing the phase they are into has been done before likely a generation or two ago. its part of being young. unfortunately along with youth and ignorance is the ability to make decisions that impact the world for good or evil. fortunately the reverse works too. the gop is in trouble because of the measure taken on the gay rights issue. 55% of all republicans are anti gay rights. that is 65 % of old people against and 65% of young republicans pro gay rights. the young ones in this case are going to reshape the party or the party will lose them.
          i think it is human nature to realize things have value as they are leaving and no longer available. i had no understanding that my opinions were good ones when i was young and only as i gained age and perspective di i ralis=ze i had as many valuable thoughts as the people who presented themselves as experts. it is an individual attitude
          eva cassidy was not revered when she was singing only after she was gone. linda and i went to the dr john show at the st paul jazz thing yesterday and afterward went to see a 4 piece jazz group with a woman singer who was unbelievable and unappreciated. my son is an unbelievable singer who goes unappreciated. clydes writing and his art is undiscovered except by our little group but it is wonderful steves writing is fantastic and undiscovered in terms of the acclaim it should receive . thats just the way it is.
          you have to live for you and hope others notice what a wonderful job you are doing at this thing called life. maybe you will be noted after your gone likely it will be a person or two who will recall your contributions and that is simply the way the planet works.
          nobels pre death obituary spirited him to do something noteworthy. the peace prize instead of dynamite inventor. i would love to live life so the obit reads someway i would be proud of. it motivates me. i dont want to be proclaimed dead with some survivors. my dads ashes are in a skippy peanut butter jar on display but im not giving them to your wife clyde. they are my decorations. that and his ring.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Dr. John is 74 and walks with a cane, but when he sits down at the piano he’s ageless. His hands have lost none of their dexterity, and his voice hasn’t changed a bit. I’d like to see him continue to tickle the ivories for another ten or twenty years.

          Liked by 1 person

  13. Just back from the Pride parade down Hennepin Avenue – lots of young faces, families, etc. – which is to be expected. My favorites though were the folks I saw who were old enough to remember when the Pride parade was not something that could happen, when gathering happened in places that were secret and hidden, when you spoke in codes so as not to be found out. Those were the faces that looked the most delighted today on the route of the parade. I expect the young and the lithe – they are the ones with the energy to celebrate big and loud. It was the faces of those who did not expect to see a day when the Supreme Court would recognize their rights that I saw true beauty.

    Liked by 5 people

  14. yes the world has changed since the 70’s
    i remember being in san fransisco in the 80’s for the gay day parade. it was the first i had ever heard of aids and gay community was out odf the closet there in san fran but very unknown for the hippy form minnesota. turned out i had a room mate who was gay and i was just not tuned in enough to be aware of the fact. today the world respects gays blacks chicano’s old people and even old hippies. well maybe not respect but at least not disrespect.
    i am here in eden prairie the gop capitol of minnesota and the kids my kids bring home have never seen old hippy tendencies in their other childhood experiences. i am not necessarily respected but at least i am not disrespected.

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  15. Other thing I like about this, Clyde, is the title.

    We went over to Minnehaha Falls for a Scandinavian (by which they meant Swedish and Norwegian) Summer Fest – first time they’ve tried it. Foods, craft booths, dancers and singers. PJ, I wonder if it’s anything like the Danish festival you were telling us about…

    Luckily we made it home before the rain.

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    1. To some extent, yes, they’re celebrating the summer solstice. The Danish celebration is not a commercial, money-making venture, however. It’s a giant pot-luck (bring your own meet for grilling), music, singing around the bonfire, and hayrides. It was really quite lovely – until I noticed the chigger bites the following day.

      Liked by 1 person

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