Monday, 17 February 2014

Rainbow hats and scarves

In my job I often meet 'members of the public' who want to comment on issues to do with the section of the public sector I work in.

Recently an older couple attended a meeting.  Afterwards the man was putting on his hat - it was brightly coloured in rainbow stripes.  'That stands for the Co-Op' he informed me.  'Other groups have taken it as their symbol, but the Co-Op had it first'.  He was wearing an USDAW badge.  'My heroes are Keir Hardy, Michael Foot and Tony Benn', he said.

He and his wife, who must have been in their 80s, had both asked interesting and interested questions at the meeting.  I could hear her talking to one of my colleagues. 'My passion is women's history,' she said. 

Her husband began to chivvy her to leave.  'I need to get to the university,' he said.  'Well, I was just waiting for you,' she said.  She put on her knitted, rainbow striped scarf, they found their sticks, and walked towards the lift.

They're not the only older couple I know who are full of enthusiasm and involvement in the world around them.  My parents are another.  Then there's the retired clergyman I know.  In his mid-80s he still plays badminton, leads services around the county, and he and his wife are currently hosting two bishops on a two-week visit from the other side of the world.  The wife of one of the bishops told me when I asked about where she was going next on their visits to various towns, 'We rely on K's itinerary, he's extremely well-organised'.

I hope that in around 30 years time my husband and I are like that.  Still interested, still wanting to make a difference, still passionate about our beliefs, still making a contribution to society.

As to what we'll wear, it may not be rainbow hats.  I'll talk about old people's 'uniforms' another time.

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