An Old Man Forgotten

When our town was new and growing he was an important man and many sought him out for his vision, vast knowledge, and worldly wisdom.  He was a bold negotiator and an innovative leader in the community.  He gave freely of the gifts that life had bestowed upon him.  He always made time for those that needed him.  His day started at dawn and ended late at night.

In his youth, he was a traveler and journeyman.  His thumb was always out, hitchhiking to new destinations and later on a Harley with the wind in his face and the road his home.  He traveled endlessly on the lost highways with only a sleeping bag for a bed.

Later he became a father, then a grandfather, only to retire from working and his involvement in the community, to spend more time with his grandchildren.  Those were the happy years for him but those ended as well when the grandchildren went off to college and moved away.

As time passed he saw less and less of the people that he worked with.  They sought him out less frequently and then not at all.  His children forgot about all the businesses he created and gave to them when he retired.  The community forgot about him even though he still sat alone in the back pew of the church, a church that he had donated the money to build.  The Bronze plaques bearing his name are still on the cornerstone of this church and many more buildings in town, hidden in plain sight or maybe just forgotten.

As his children got older, had children and jobs of their own, they spent fewer Christmases at his home, missed more Father’s Days and birthdays.  They never noticed him in the back row of the church, his head down low, an old man forgotten.

In truth, he truly was a forgotten man.  He slowly became invisible to everyone.  A book read and enjoyed then put aside.  How could this happen for a man to be a mover and shaker, in reality, a town builder then slowly forgotten?  It seems that it was a slow thing that gradually came to pass.

Point Of View

The glory that we feel, the power we think we have, it is a fleeting moment of greatness then gone.  A few years ago while visiting my sister in the last stages of Alzheimer’s I walked past an older man shuffling down the hall and dragging an IV rack behind him.  His hair was thin and grey and his pajamas were old and baggy on him.  As I walked by him he called my name.  He said, “I knew your daddy.”  It was sad when he passed.  He was a good man.  I stopped and talked to him and asked him how he was doing.  He said to me, “I am just an old man forgotten.”

He later passed away from Alzheimer’s.  A nurse told me that his family had brought him in a few years ago and never came back until he was gone.  I have to ask how we forget the ones that gave us life and love.  Is that our future as well, to slowly fade away until we are forgotten?


Larry Tyler
Larry Tyler
Awaken the possibilities … then unleash them. After 55 years of successful retail management, I have returned to my passion of writing. I write Poetry, Storytelling, and Short Stories. As a child, I grew up on front porch storytelling. I would sit and listen to my Dad and his brothers tell these great stories that were captivating, and I always wanted to hear more. I wanted to experience the things they talked about. I started writing at a young age and reading everything I could get my hands on. At twelve years old I started a storytelling group and several of my friends became writers or poets. At 16 I hopped box cars and worked the tobacco fields, orange groves, picked cotton, and spent many nights around a campfire listing to life stories. Someone once asked me why I wrote. It consumes an amazing amount of time and I assure you it is not going to make me rich. I write so that my children can touch and feel my words telling of the ones that came before us and the stories they told me. These are the chronicles of our family and even though they come from my childhood memories and are deeply rooted in a child’s remembrance at least they may feel what it was like in the time before them and cherish the things the elders left behind. I am a Columnist & Featured Contributor, BIZCATALYST360 and I have The Writers Café, a group on LinkedIn that features Poets, Writers, Artists, Photographers, and Musicians . On Facebook I have two groups and one page; Dirt Road Storytelling, From Abandoned To Rescue Dogs And Cats, and About Life, Love And Living. As writers, it is true that we honestly do not know what we hold within us until we unleash it. When our words inspire others only then will inspiration return to the writer. I will spend my twilight years in search of the next story, the next poem, and the next image. I will take the time to enjoy my Wife, our Dogs, and Cats, and our amazing new home and I will always find the time to walk down a dirt road I truly hope is that I never have to read another book on Leadership, be on a conference call or see another plan o gram as these were the tool for what I did in life and not about who I am.

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  1. Ohhhh, I can hardly type this full of emotional memories of my Grandparents I used to help so much in their later years with many many things while there own Son my Uncle would not even cut the grass when Pappy couldn’t. My Nana died with alzheimers and our relatives only living a 1/2 hour away would not visit her what a shame and one forgotten grandparent what a forgotten dear loving person folks. I guess my Nana would say if she were here reading this article Larry, Michael never forgot us and I feel good about it and all people are Important especially your family. ?

  2. Larry – This is such an important article that needs to be read by all – a strong reminder that we are losing our humanity when we stop caring for those who sacrificed so much to get us here today. Thanks for holding up the mirror.

  3. Larry, this article touched me deeply. As one who has a heart for the young and the elderly and who parents died when I was young, I often see how much in this 21st century that the elderly are forgotten quiet often because its too much time to care for them, they have other things to do. I don’t put everyone in this category but there are enough of them and shame on them.

    • Thank you Lynn. I know that by running into that gentleman the past had a profound effect on me.