Senior Adults Are Treasures To Appreciate

Congratulations and happy birthday to Louise Mandrell who was 50 on July 13! Some readers outside Sevier County (TN) might say, “Carl, you shouldn’t tell a woman’s age like that!” But most people around here know that her birthday party was a front-page story in The Mountain Press. So, why do I bring it up again? Well, Louise and I are hosting the “2nd Annual People Of Passion Conference for Senior Adults” on August 16-18 at her theater. And this year, according to AARP, she will officially be a senior adult!
This reminds me of a story vocalist Doug Oldham told when he performed at earlier senior adult conferences I hosted. He said that when he returned home from such events and friends asked where he had been he used to reply, “I was singing to the old folks.” He told us, “Now when I go back home and they ask, I say, ‘I’ve been with my people!’ ” Welcome, Louise. This year, we both will be with our people!
Louise and I hosted the inaugural “People Of Passion” conference last August, the theme of my book with the same title. The book was pre-released in Sevier County to coincide with the event. It was officially published for national distribution this May, and I’m happy to report that it is now in a second printing. As the book spreads in a grassroots fashion, I believe that more and more readers will appreciate the stories about early Southern Appalachia – stories of faith & determination that represent the spirit of America.
Over 800 people from 11 states are already registered for this year’s conference. And even though we haven’t promoted it much locally, we do invite Sevier County folks to join the “mature lady” and me for what is going to be another great event. Apart from Louise’s outstanding show and my speaking, we are featuring the Integrity Quartet (exciting Southern Gospel), Citico Creek (energetic bluegrass), Phil Campbell (Hee Haw humorist), Sande Raye (accomplished contemporary vocalist), and Sarah Holloway & Beverly Kerr (operatic performers with spiritual warmth and depth). For additional details, phone Steve Ellis Tours in Sevier County at (865) 429-5070. People outside the area can phone (800) 953-7469.
Even though I have hosted over 50 conferences in Sevier County for various age groups, I must confess that senior adults are my favorites. And this is not just because they go to bed earlier than the youth and don’t mess up the hotel rooms! There are many other reasons. One is that senior adults are treasures to appreciate. Another is that I find them to be so appreciative of others. I feel that senior adults, more than any age group, have a much deeper understanding and appreciation for family, friends, and people in general.
And, even though all age groups have certain needs, senior adults experience points in their lives where people have an opportunity to step in and meet very unique needs. For example, at the 2003 “People Of Passion” conference, there was a lady who had to be urged greatly by others in her group to attend. She and her husband had registered for the event, but he passed away not long before the conference. She did not want to come. She told me the story and said that I would never know how much the sessions meant to her. She said that she laughed, cried, was uplifted and entertained.
As I think of this lady – and as I think of Louise’s birthday – I think of my mother. Her birthday was also July 13. In my February 25th column, I wrote of how she passed away at age 94. Her husband and my father had passed away 35 years earlier. The Mountain Press title for that column was “Foundation of memorial service built on hope and faith.” I presented the message at her funeral. I spoke of that hope and faith, and of how she was an uplifting influence and servant leader. An amazingly large number of readers emailed me, told me in person, or on the phone how much that column reminded them of their mothers. Treasures to appreciate.
Carl Mays, author of over a dozen books and speaker at over 2500 events, can be contacted at or 865-436-7478. His books are available in stores, at and (click on ‘books’ and type in ‘Carl Mays’).


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