Treat Me Right (Even When I’m 86)

I have never seen B.B. King perform before.  When we saw he was coming to a small venue in Chattanooga, we had to go.  I am so glad we did.

B.B. King is 86 years old and still so full of life that you just want to stand where his light can shine on you.  He is so adorable that he could have just sat on the stage smiling and the audience would have been grateful.

I could not stop thinking to myself, this guy is the same age my aunt was when she died.  I cannot help but compare the sad shell of a woman my aunt was at the same age vs the belting-out-the-songs (albeit in short spurts) B.B. King.  What an inspiration.

I looked at Pat and said, “I wonder what it would be like to have a job you still want to be doing when you’re 86?”

What was really cool was the reverence the audience had for this octogenarian.  I think everyone there felt honored to be listening to B.B. King talk and play and sing.  I compare this to going to my aunt’s bell choir performance at her assisted living facility.  The attitude of the audience was one of amused patience; we were doing a favor for the performers by being there.

The B.B. King audience was there for the opposite reason–to have the honor of being in B.B. King’s presence.  That audience felt gratitude for B.B. King doing us the great favor of getting up on that stage.

I sometimes think about aging and what it means if, at the end of your life, who you are is taken from you in the form of dementia (something that happened to all four of my grandparents and half of my aunts).  I had a recent conversation with a friend about the Okinawa study.  There, the elderly are revered and good health reigns, even amongst centenarians.  And they have more centenarians than any where in the world.

My friend said the families there fight over who will get to take care of their aging parents.  It’s considered an honor and a privilege to take on this responsibility.

B.B. King made me feel honored and privileged; I have to wonder how much this ability contributes to the difference between a man who still lives life and a woman who sits idly in front of the TV while her memories slip away.

On a photographic note, the one disappointment of the evening was that I called ahead to make sure I could bring my camera, but when I got there, they told me I couldn’t take it in.  I should have tried a different security person because I met man with a very large point-and-shoot who said he was told just not to use flash.  I had to make do with my iPhone.  When I saw how horrible my pictures were, I understood why the promoters didn’t take away phones.

Advertisements