By Marla Ballard


Some cultures disregard the elderly while others venerate them. Greek, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, African, and Native Americans are all at the top of the list of cultures that are praised for their celebration of the aged. When a person is using a walker or slow in their movements it can be difficult to imagine them when they were young. Most elderly people have led interesting lives and have stories to tell about the once vibrant lives they led.

Take for example Linda Bain, now in her 70s, retired and living in Pisgah. Linda has gone swimming in Elvis Presley’s swimming pool and she lived just one mile from Jerry Lee Lewis when she was a child. “I took dance lessons with Elvis’ secretary and he came for all of the dance recitals,” said Linda.

Over the years she has worked for FedEx loading and unloading planes, sold real estate, worked in the restaurant industry, and trained horses. The job that she found the most exciting was when she worked, for nine years, as a part-time deputy in New Orleans. “Sometimes I worked in the squad car, but often I rode my horse Rebel in the parades in the various parishes,” said Linda. “I worked crowd control to protect people from getting hurt as the floats rode by. Each deputy was assigned a float to follow and also to keep the parade entertainers moving along.”

Linda loves telling the story about a group of dancers in a parade that was led by a woman who didn’t like to “move along” at the pace the parade should travel. “The Sherriff assigned me to keep her ‘in step’ with the parade,” said Linda. “My horse, Rebel, was a bit intimidating and I wasn’t afraid to use him as a tool to motivate people to keep moving.” Linda also tells how Rebel was alert to not harming anyone, especially children. “One time Rebel wouldn’t obey my command to move forward and after several attempts, I realized a toddler had gotten away from his mother and was underneath my horse. Once I got the mother to retrieve her child then Rebel moved forward.”

Sadly, Linda has outlived two husbands, both of which she was married for 26 years. She is now surrounded by a large family. Linda has a son and twin girls and stepchildren, as well as many grand and great-grandchildren.

During her life, she has lived in Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Wisconsin, and the Bahamas. Her memories of the many years she spent training horses brings a smile to face. These days she does needlepoint and is active in helping the Civitan Club in Pisgah. She is surrounded by good neighbors, family, friends, her church family, and her dog Bear.

Linda is a life lesson in not being too quick to dismiss an elderly person. Taking the time to listen to the stories of yester-year can be both entertaining and can impart wisdom to younger generations.