hammer copy

At 307 South Bridge Street in Victoria, Texas when I was a kid, during Fall mornings I woke up to the sound of hammer on steel coming from almost two houses away. “Bam! Clank! Clank. Bam." Mr. George Conti the blacksmith hammered on iron in the back of his brother Joe’s Hardware store. Conti’s hardware. George was a tall, narrow statue of man with a long Ichabod Crane face. Fire illuminated his smudged face, great smiling teeth and brightened the edges of his dark circular goggles.

Day after day he danced over that furnace in the middle of a barn like room. Thousands of pieces of shiny bits of coal strewn across the floor. Mr. Conti pounded away at iron. Bending it. Shaping it. A new cattle brand for a local would appear right before your eyes. Farm equipment restored. Or a gate mended stronger than ever. Striking when the iron was hot and pliable. Cooling it in the water trough where it harden solid again. The best thing about it for me? Watching this great quick smoke fill the air and disappear, followed by a rugged perfume of burning coal smoke, hot sizzling metal, grease and oil. I’m sure it wasn’t great for your lungs, but I do remember how oddly comforting it all smelled.

Fire it up again.
Mr. Conti’s work is a metaphor for aging today. Now comes the opportunity to strike when the iron is hot. Time to create new ideas, stories, plans and actions to reshape aging. Given these actions Boomers will see purpose, unearth a new value of self worth that’s stronger than any steel.

Take heart, skillful storytellers are appearing to tell the tale of how to construct a shinier future. Not with corny wishes nor stories typed through rose colored crappy glasses. But with real ideas to utilize older individuals in a positive light. Everywhere we look now on the subject of aging is a lopsided, out of balance, end of world storylines. Yes it’s time to strike with the fire that’s hot. Things are just heating up. Join in, start designing your age. Send the old ideas to blazes. Your fiery new ideas are welcomed here. tuck@designyourage.com

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