He has made me wary of chronological snobbery. That is, he showed me that newness is no virtue and oldness is no vice. Truth and beauty and goodness are not determined by when they exist. Nothing is inferior for being old, and nothing is valuable for being modern. This has freed me from the tyranny of novelty and opened for me the wisdom of the ages.
For me the music community was always like a model for what could be. The way people would play together, just harmony and being - old guys and young guys, black guys and white guys. It was setting an example for what the rest of us could be.
I so enjoy being old because for the first time I don't have to do anything-work, teach, study. I feel very good about myself-and at my age I can say no to anything now if I don't want to do it. What a liberating word.
I've been accused of being old before my time more than once. It's true that I've always felt an affinity for, and been comfortable around, older people. I attribute this to a childhood spent around my grandparents - and even a great-grandparent or two. I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything.