Patricia Gannon: No country for old men

Grandfathers everywhere, please come back. Society needs you to fly the plane. Without you, we have no chiefs, no kings. We need your frowns of disapproval and your presence. We are in disarray and most of it is our own fault.

We need those who can remember when men did the right thing instead of looking away; when they defended those who needed it from those looking to take advantage, and when a man stood his ground or went down trying.

Society needs you to teach your grandsons to respect guns. That it’s a masculine trust handed down from father to son, a responsibility and rite of passage to manhood, not a lie and a fax and a pawnshop deal. We need you to correct your sons, who are too busy now to be fathers and correct their own sons. We need you to step in when those sons fail their women and children.

Perhaps our society could coax its older men back if it had better words. A quick search isn’t encouraging: Geezer, old fogey, fuddy-duddy, mossback, fossil, over the hill, has-been, dotard, old poop. No man wants to be that. Who can blame you for going to play golf.

What we need is a paradigm shift, and don’t believe for a minute that leadership has nothing to do with age. In a herd of wild goats it is a large male that is dominant and maintains discipline and coherence of the flock. He leads the group but shares leadership on foraging expeditions with an old she-goat who will normally outlast several dominant males.

We have enough kids. What we need are more old goats.

Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate. She can be reached at pgannon@cmaildrop.com or at pgannon@theadvocate.com.

Taking Care of Business

Advocate owners John and Dathel Georges hosted a cocktail meet-and-greet at City Club and what better way to embrace Lafayette. VIPs for days mingled over hors d’oeuvres and more as East I-10 met West I-10. “I’m not sure who’s putting out the paper today,” said John Georges, eyeing the number or editors and reporters assembled. “We knew New Orleans would be a fertile ground for us, but we didn’t want to lose Lafayette. We know what you want.” Among those in the mix were head honcho and general manager Dan Shea and editor Peter Kovacs of Baton Rouge, Sheila Runnels, Fred Kalmbach, Karen Martin, Richard Burgess, Kathie Zimmermann, Penny Edwards, Ed and Elaine Abell, advertising diva Julie Calzone, Pat Olson, University of Louisiana at Lafayette President Joseph Savoie, business mogul Bill Fenstermaker and wife Ann, Sheriff Mike Neustrom, Richard Young, Iberiabank President Jerry Vascocu, Gene Fortier, Judge Susan Theall and The Advocate’s editorial cartoonist extraordinaire Walt Handelsman.

Fans gather for fellowship

Legendary cornerback Charles Tillman held court with Chi Alpha at the Hilton Grand Ballroom, a personal stop on his journey as University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s commencement speaker. Sponsored by Our Lady of Lourdes and The Heart Hospital, Chi Alpha’s Benefit Banquet afforded ample time for guests to pose for celebrity photos, all to the jazz strains of Cypress Lake Trio. The NFL’s 2013 Man of the Year and current starting defensive back for the Chicago Bears graduated from ULL in 2002 — in a little over three years — and credits who he is to being a member of Chi Alpha. Lending their support were Jim and Penny McGehee, Lafayette Chi Alpha director Eric Treuil and wife Anabelle, local Chi Alpha President Cole Lusby, Scott and Betty Brupbacher, Linda and Jeremiah Supple, Jim Schellman, Brian Beduze and Drs. Chip and Jennifer Jackson. Chi Alpha is a campus Christian ministry committed to being a community of worship, prayer, fellowship, discipleship and mission.