Lessons Learned From a Vulture

We usually hear about senior citizens learning lessons from young people, but a vulture?  That’s a new one!

“Lessons Learned From a Vulture” was the talk that Eleanore Dossenko gave at the bi-annual Region 11 Council on Aging meeting at the Anamoose Senior Center on Tuesday, April 25th.  After a brain injury, Eleanore’s sister took to using a chain saw to make statues that she brought to a family reunion.  Eleanore’s grandniece went among the statues to stand in front of a vulture, patting it and kissing it in spite of it being so ugly.  What did she see in it?

One day Eleanore’s sister made Eleanore stop and pick up road kill. It was a pile of feathers with big talons sticking up out of the feathers and hanging onto a mouse.  We are sometimes like that vulture who wouldn’t let go of the mouse, even as the 4-wheeler barreled over him.  Like the vulture, we hang onto our old ways. Eleanore had thought of the vulture as an ugly bird until they spread the vulture’s wings and discovered the underside was gorgeous.

Young people want to help us and also to learn from us.  We need to allow them to do so, even if it is only doing small things that we pay them for.  We have to show an interest in them and build them up.  We have to remember what we were like when we were young.  “We were nuts too.”

Unlike humans, vultures mate for life.  Married women sometimes get so used to saying “Yes dear”, they forget to stretch their brains.  “They need to bloom.”

Vultures have some good qualities that we could share.  They are industrious and independent.  They take care of themselves.  They don’t pick fights.  But they have a bad reputation for waiting and cleaning up after other animals have died.

Older people should be generous with praise of others. We should not get too comfortable and lay-back, but should “stick our necks out like the vulture”, and stay involved.  We need to continue to do activities like reading and learning new technology.

Take time to see the good in others.  The eagle, like the vulture, is not a pretty bird, but to us it is a symbol of our nation.

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