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Old Sep 21 2009, 01:00 AM   #1
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Question Older folks on Pern.

I have a idea on how old aunts and uncles, were valued for the most part for their knowledge. But how were they treated, by hold crafthall and crafthold?

I had an uncle who worked in a foundry and did most of the fixing around home, and helped other, till living with Alzheimer's disease, took for the most away.

So I would like to see what your idea on this topic. If this need a tag flag then one of the staffer here well have to change it.
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Old Sep 21 2009, 10:37 AM   #2
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Default Re: Older folks on Pern.

People on Pern will work until they no longer can't and after that they will be pretty useless unless they find a job to transfer their knowledge to others within their craft. It'll be more or less like our elderly folks on Earth during the first quarter of the 20th century I suppose.
Not nice maybe but in a society like Pern, unavoidable. People in higher circles will, of course, have been better off, like always and everywhere and everytime. Average age will have been rather low anyway (I suppose there was a relative high percentage of childbirth with the less than adequate medical knowledge pre-AIVAS) and I think top ages will have been between 70 and 80 Turns during the Ninth Interval and earlier.
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Old Sep 21 2009, 06:10 PM   #3
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Default Re: Older folks on Pern.

I'm not sure I agree with it being so bleak, Hans. Are you speculating, or is this something you know because you asked? ::

Menolly had to care for her "Aunties and Uncles"...she even named three of her firelizards after them. When food and shelter are by and large communal anyway, given at the whims of the Holder, I don't see why a Hold would treat its elderly (those who live to elderly age) poorly. Presumably they lived and worked while living in the Hold (or Hall, or Weyr) during their lives, and are now "retired". I think a lot of people living in a hold would get ticked off if it became apparent a Holder was going to kick them out the moment they became unproductive. It'd be the Pern equivalent of working for a company for 40 years and then getting laid off with no pension.

I could see individual issues happening...ie, the Crafter with no family who "retires" to a Hold in a warmer clime who then acquires dementia as he ages might be resented by his new hold because he didn't work at that hold during his productive life. Or maybe an elderly person was just a problem child, so to speak, their entire life, and now folks dislike they have to care for them when they were a waste of breath when they were still working. Or maybe their family kicks them out because of some family dispute. But on the whole I suspect the elderly would benefit the same as other people in the hold--food, shelter, and care. Their quality of life could be even better than what some of our elderly in America (as an example) have...they'd probably be integrated into the community and active in it until they die, rather than being hidden away in a nursing home.

Of course, there won't be many who live that long--the life expectancy on Pern *would* be considerably lower. But those who do live until they are elderly will probably be cared for.

Hmm...I wonder if there would be a split between how Northern holds and southern and Southern holds treat their elderly? With dragons making travel quicker than even modern day airplanes, warmer holds could have a real issue of old/elderly people "retiring" there without having actually worked/done labor at the hold that's now feeding them now they're feeble...
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Old Sep 21 2009, 06:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: Older folks on Pern.

I always had the impression that the elderly were well respected on Pern not abandoned but given easier jobs and their wisdom respected and shared. The old lady that Flessan and Golanth saved in the tidal wave/tsunami from the comet
I also don't think Pern's average age was lowered since the original colonists came from long lived stock and had eliminated alot of genetic diseases etc that would not affect Pern, also seems one Dragonrider was very very old
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Old Sep 21 2009, 07:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: Older folks on Pern.

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I always had the impression that the elderly were well respected on Pern not abandoned but given easier jobs and their wisdom respected and shared. The old lady that Flessan and Golanth saved in the tidal wave/tsunami from the comet
I also don't think Pern's average age was lowered since the original colonists came from long lived stock and had eliminated alot of genetic diseases etc that would not affect Pern, also seems one Dragonrider was very very old
Genetic diseases can always return. That's the beauty if mutation. Life on Pern, even in the 9th Pass, is still a LOT harder than life on earth today, especially for those on the lower rungs. Hard labor and lots of babies takes years off your life.

Elders ARE respected. There are older mentors, teachers, and other areas where they can pass on knowledge and advice. However, I think this is because their mental faculties are still sharp. If you lost your physical AND mental abilities, well, you're no longer who you once were and are more burden than anything else.
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Old Sep 21 2009, 08:00 PM   #6
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Default Re: Older folks on Pern.

Question....wasn't there a situation in one of the books *can't remember which one though, off the top of my head* where they got the Aunties and Uncles to help with various bits and pieces when they had a plague? I think it may have been in Nerilka's Story but I could be wrong.

So even in old age, they're still required to help out on occasions if they're able to do so.
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Old Sep 21 2009, 08:25 PM   #7
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Default Re: Older folks on Pern.

Well, age is an equal opportunity employer. So I understand, getting old is not for wimps. So I would hope that the elderly on Pern would be given the respectful treatment they deserve, and that their abilities, not their disabilities, would be valued until the end of their lives.

The old one that F'lessan and Golanth rescued makes me smile--she makes getting old something to anticipate! They carried her around, they braided her hair, they did everything she said ("and hop to it, child, hurry up!"), and I want to be like her when I grow up. :-)

By the time of SoP, Manora was probably in her 80's or 90's, and although I don't recall if the book said if she was still the Headwoman of Benden, she was still very respected for her abilities and her memories. It might take her a little longer to get there, but who's timing?

Because of the way Pernese society is, I also completely with the idea that Pernese elders do, in some ways, have better lives aging than some seniors do on this planet. Getting old is not a crime, and should not be treated as such. Look at societies like the Anasazi, or "undeveloped nations" today--there's not any such thing as nursing homes, and people don't automatically disappear once they reach 'a certain age' either. If all an older person can do is sit and tell the children stories (occasionally lapsing into Hopi!), fine. The childrden should be taught to respect their elders anyway, so have at it.
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Old Sep 21 2009, 08:26 PM   #8
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Default Re: Older folks on Pern.

I think that it was mentioned that some could work putting together equipment, where nimble fingers where needed, not a strong body.

I also think that as people got older their jobs changed. I am thinking mostly of "Dragonsinger". Menolly would get a sack to collect spider legs (I can't remember what they were called) from an Auntie who would not remember that she went out the day before or would go out the next day. Also Old Uncle was asked about high tides that he remember. Also if Menolly needed anything once she was in the weyr she had only to yell the Auntie in the nursery was to listen for her.

I think the same would be true in the crafts. Older ones could teach or mentor younger ones.
There may have been some cases where people that could no longer work were put out. Like the man who lost his legs in one of the books. He was set ashore, the captain of the ship paid to have him healed as much as possible, but after that he was on his own.
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Old Sep 21 2009, 09:06 PM   #9
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Default Re: Older folks on Pern.

The old lady F'lessan rescued was sort of a one-of-a-kind. She seemed very much in charge, even though her legs didn't work well anymore. On the whole, I think there would be a mixture of most of what has already been said. Some people would take better care of their elders than others, just as happens now. I think, as Maw said, work changes as life progresses. A holder grandma who couldn't weed the garden any more could sit by the fire and knit socks, for instance, as long as her offspring have kind feelings towards her. There must be some degree of care provided for the weak and helpless. Kylara was looked after, wasn't she?
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Old Sep 21 2009, 11:11 PM   #10
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Default Re: Older folks on Pern.

In Dragons Eye (US paperback) the old folks seemed to have repect from all. They were also used to inform those saved from the Bitra border crossings about their Charter rights. I see them mostly, as I hope we all do, as vast stores of family history, assisting in child care, teaching craft/holder/weyr facts to the kids while the younger adults supply the family needs.
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Old Sep 21 2009, 11:23 PM   #11
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Default Re: Older folks on Pern.

I think dragon riders would always be looked after. If they lose their dragons, then they can either stay in the weyr or go to a hold. If they become unable to look after themselves then they will always be looked after as a thank for their service. If they become to old to fight thread they can become watch drogons for a hold.
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Old Sep 22 2009, 03:02 AM   #12
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Default Re: Older folks on Pern.

No, Domini, I didn't ask but I thought it was obvious.
The elderly you mention (Menolly's family members) were mostly useless. Sure they did a few simple and menial tasks around the Sea Hold but the really old, like the uncle Menolly had to "babysit" were, I think at a rare age, something the average Pernese man or woman didn't reach.

Sure, those who were older and lived had respect. That goes without saying in such a parochial society, but hard life doesn't make for many old people and low level medical care certainly doesn't contribute either. That's not bleak thinking but realistic thinking.
In the post-AIVAS period that might be somewhat different bit a turn for the better won't be made in one decade.

As for dragonriders... one without a dragon would rather die. Simple as that. But yes, Weyrfolk take care of each other like the crafters and holder must have done. I just don't see large amounts of really old folks around in Pern's society. Older folk, yes, but a large amount of persons aged over 80? No.

Givien that there are alwsy exceptions and the period of Dragonseye (end of First Interval) is rather early in Pern's history and surely can't be respresentative yet of what happened in later millennia. In those times they still had computers, more technology and better healthcare.
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Old Sep 22 2009, 06:38 AM   #13
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Default Re: Older folks on Pern.

What would Leri's life have been like had she not been a Gold Rider?
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Old Sep 22 2009, 02:43 PM   #14
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Default Re: Older folks on Pern.

Maybe she would've been an archivist? That's low-impact work, and if she kept bundled up and was careful with her eyes, she might've been at it for years.
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Old Sep 22 2009, 04:21 PM   #15
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Default Re: Older folks on Pern.

Would Leri have GOTTEN that old were she not a dragonrider? The dragonriders, in addition to having the psychic boost of their dragon, get the best food, living quarters, medical care, and other resources available. The men, especially in an Interval, aren't out doing dangerous farm labor or working at crafts with high accident potential (fishing, working with metal or glass, building, working with animals--work with horses and those of us who are honest will tell you, it's not "if" you'll get hurt, it's when and how badly), the women are not bearing children. Children aren't crowded in or worked from a young age. The Weyr as a rule is going to skew both the longevity number and the infant mortality.

In the average Hold, the elderly are likely respected because there are fewer of what we modern humans would call elderly. Accident, illness, typical human self-destructive behavior and the strain of near-subsistence living are going to get most people long before they hit their late seventies. As we can see from our own history, it's not IMPOSSIBLE for people to live well past the average (John Adams was until Reagan the longest-lived President, and he was born in the 18th century in the colonies where 94 was not the norm) but it helps to be at least middle class and in a non-manual-labor job. Go back farther and your average monk is going to outlive your average Midieval dirt farmer, too. Pretty much 90% of Pernese jobs are NOT in that category.

As for disorders like Alzheimer's and dementia, assume that someone DID manage to find a way to shut off/eliminate whatever triggers Alzheimers--not all forms of senility and dementia are Alzheimer's. There is no way to eliminate the possibility of strokes and heart attacks. Cancer by definition is a mutated cell--you can't completely eliminate the possibility of it happening. Viruses and bacteria mutate like the dickens.
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Old Sep 23 2009, 03:18 PM   #16
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Default Re: Older folks on Pern.

The books mention that dragonriders tend to live longer than holders, which is quite reasonable for all the reasons Anareth gave.

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dangerous farm labor
Would farming have been as dangerous without all the modern machinery we use. I have no real data points on this, just the feeling that farming accidents are most often related to tractors/combines/balers/etc.


I would think the way that the eldery are treated varies widely. They won't be great in number, again for the reasons Anareth stated. In some places their experience/years of service will be appreciated and they will be well cared for and venerated. In others they will be seen as a nuisance and neglected.

I would think they would be most vulnerable to poor treatment at smaller holds/cotholds where they would be a more obvious drain on resources. Which is not to say all at cotholds would be abused, some places would have a tradition of respect, others wouldn't.

Larger, more affluent holds could afford better to care for them and find ways they could still contribute, but again that's not to say it would always be the case. In DE/RSR, I remember it being written that Chalkin had placed the elderly in "cold storage", which nearly killed them (or did kill a number). While that was surely by Chalkin's wishes, if people in general did respect their elders that never would have been allowed to happen.
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Old Sep 23 2009, 05:10 PM   #17
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Default Re: Older folks on Pern.

I agree with Cheryl about farming being less dangerous. It would be harder and I could more of a chance of heart attacks or strokes caused by the hard labor. I don't think there would be that many accidents.
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Old Sep 23 2009, 05:58 PM   #18
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Default Re: Older folks on Pern.

In many subsistance farming communities the elders are a very useful resource used for looking after those children who are too young to be part of the work force, thus releasing the young adult women for productive work (not necessarily RE-productive).
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Old Sep 23 2009, 08:35 PM   #19
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Default Re: Older folks on Pern.

Farming would still be dangerous to a degree. As Anareth said, working with large animals (or even some smaller ones) on a daily basis is bound to result in injuries ranging from a bruised toe to a broken neck. Also the physical demands of intensive crop management would be wearing on the bodies after a while. While building up their muscles they'd also be wearing out their bones and joints. But as has been said, those who could no longer do the more strenuous tasks could probably still work at things like mending, cooking and babysitting,
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Old Sep 23 2009, 11:27 PM   #20
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Default Re: Older folks on Pern.

Farming would still be dangerous, only it would be a different kind of danger. You still have the animals to deal with, and there would be more of the dangerous ones, like bulls, stallions, etc. No artificial insemination for your heardbeast herds! Then, probably, no fences either, so it's back to manually shepherding your herds or flocks. There's a logical, farming reason why Jesus' shepherd rejoiced over his one lost sheep - he probably had to climb half-way down a cliff to retrieve it.

Then, harvest. No balers, diggers, combine machinery to fall in, but have you ever wondered why the traditional figure of "death" carries a scythe?

We haven't started on more primitive forms of mining, fishing, or just getting from one place to another. Who does the infrastructure, road and bridge maintenance, getting water from one place to another? Who uses explosives? Or would they use the old giant-killer methods of getting rid of rocks, a fire on top, followed by buckets of cold water. Some rocks explode when you do that.

I'm guessing Pern could be a very dangerous place for some of the common working people.
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Old Sep 24 2009, 04:23 AM   #21
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Default Re: Older folks on Pern.

Luckily for the Pernese; up till now there's been enough land that one could pick a good spot and pitch in. One of your criteria would be 'are there large rocks?' If there were you'd farm somewhere else. Small rocks are easy: they become drystone walls. Too many trees? Just ask the weyr to allow a thread or two to fall in the right area.
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Old Sep 24 2009, 09:48 AM   #22
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Default Re: Older folks on Pern.

Ask the Amish. (We had a guy get his head caved in around here a couple years ago getting kicked by a draft on his team while he was harrowing.)

Large animals, which, even when relatively docile (draft horses and oxen that have behavior issues are destroyed even today--you canNOT have an animal that large with behavior problems), can kill you without meaning to, or maim you. Even without a tractor pulling it and with a horse team instead, you still have reapers with blades, hay rakes, sharp hand impliments. Farming is LESS likely to kill you now and even less likely to permanently maim you than it used to be. (Depending on the animals I don't think AI is one of those lifesavers, though. We don't get fatalities breeding Thoroughbreds, and if you want to register them with the Jockey Club it's live-cover only. If anything AI and embryo transfer cause their whole own set of problems for the animals, and also mean you can create crossbreds that just should NOT exist, especially with dog breeds.)

Geez, I didn't even think of mining! There's a profession that hasn't really gotten much less dangerous with modern technology. As for fishing, anyone watch "Swords" or "Deadliest Catch"? Now do that without modern ship construction, GPS, and air/sea Coast Guard rescue.
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Old Sep 24 2009, 04:08 PM   #23
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That's why Aran sweaters developed the way they did. Your sweater was your i.d. when you were washed up drowned.
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Old Sep 24 2009, 11:00 PM   #24
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Default Re: Older folks on Pern.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mawra View Post
I think dragon riders would always be looked after. If they lose their dragons, then they can either stay in the weyr or go to a hold. If they become unable to look after themselves then they will always be looked after as a thank for their service. If they become to old to fight thread they can become watch drogons for a hold.
Just like brown Wirth in WD?
@ P'ter
Quote:
Too many trees? Just ask the weyr to allow a thread or two to fall in the right area.
I wouldn't think that would have been a great idea there. "Shivering from have thread eat, a section I wanted to farm, no thanks on that one.
Quote:
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Re: Older folks on Pern.
In many subsistance farming communities the elders are a very useful resource used for looking after those children who are too young to be part of the work force, thus releasing the young adult women for productive work
RoP they did in the forest holding, that was rob of half of there winter grain.

@ Vyon
Quote:
We haven't started on more primitive forms of mining, fishing, or just getting from one place to another. Who does the infrastructure, road and bridge maintenance, getting water from one place to another? Who uses explosives? Or would they use the old giant-killer methods of getting rid of rocks, a fire on top, followed by buckets of cold water. Some rocks explode when you do that.
In DLGP its partly smith craft who make the explosives, and mining craft who did the study of the landscape.

@ Anareth How true on what quoted.
Quote:
Pretty much 90% of Pernese jobs are NOT in that category.

As for disorders like Alzheimer's and dementia, assume that someone DID manage to find a way to shut off/eliminate whatever triggers Alzheimers--not all forms of senility and dementia are Alzheimer's. There is no way to eliminate the possibility of strokes and heart attacks. Cancer by definition is a mutated cell--you can't completely eliminate the possibility of it happening. Viruses and bacteria mutate like the dickens.
My grandmother was 97 had dementia and was get her own kids mix up, towards the end, she wanted to goto FL and she passed in the winter and was buried in the spring, I found out while listing to Sorka's death in Todd's Dragonsblood, and I cried even harder when I found out, when she passed away, and her queen when between for the last time.
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Old Sep 24 2009, 11:02 PM   #25
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Re: Older folks on Pern.

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That's why Aran sweaters developed the way they did. Your sweater was your i.d. when you were washed up drowned.
How right, for its in DLGP, and also the way they were made were not for sale, at least in DLGP.
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Old Sep 24 2009, 11:07 PM   #26
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Thumbs up Re: Older folks on Pern.

I
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think that it was mentioned that some could work putting together equipment, where nimble fingers where needed, not a strong body.
Maw, All the Weyr of Pern, also the retied in a mining supervisory job.

I also think that as people got older their jobs changed. I am t
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hinking mostly of "Dragonsinger". Menolly would get a sack to collect spider legs (I can't remember what they were called) from an Auntie who would not remember that she went out the day before or would go out the next day. Also Old Uncle was asked about high tides that he remember.
Maw spiderclaws? crabs with many legs.

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Also if Menolly needed anything once she was in the weyr she had only to yell the Auntie in the nursery was to listen for her.
That wasn't a Auntie that was one of the weyr staff, for she helped in making the feast for the hattching, and she was a younger woman. HH1
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Old Sep 24 2009, 11:27 PM   #27
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Default Re: Older folks on Pern.

Speaking of family both with "able-ones" with young ones and older folks now I am thinking how the holdless, the one in keeping that was talked about in RoP. Also how some of the older folks were pushed out at the begining of the book, to make room for "able-body" for flame-crews.

That footless one was bitter for being let go, after that bad storm eight turns before Thread, he didn't care for craftfolks, holderfolks, and I would think weyrfolks, and the Igen Caverns were where folks could pick up informaton from all over Pern for a favor.

He had lost his foot, kinda like how Old Uncle in Dragonsinger, lost when a line cut it.
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Old Sep 26 2009, 07:52 AM   #28
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Default Re: Older folks on Pern.

What I was thinking of, mentioning Artificial Insemination for herdbeasts, is that before you had that, you had more bulls. When I was a teenager, my Dad was almost killed by a big Jersey bull, and he was only playing. If he'd been serious, Dad would never have made it out of the paddock.

The footless one got to be footless because of what we would now call a workplace accident. Then he could no longer work. He'd have at least two reasons to be bitter, one that he couldn't work, and the other that he'd effectively been chucked out of his home because he couldn't work. It probably wasn't all that uncommon either.
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Old Sep 26 2009, 11:08 AM   #29
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Default Re: Older folks on Pern.

Good examples, both, Vyon.

Another one:
I know how it feels like when you're milking (better: putting on the suction cups) and 600 kilo's of cow makes a sidestep
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Old Sep 27 2009, 06:28 AM   #30
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Default Re: Older folks on Pern.

They usually rake you right down the shin, if it's a level cowshed, like ours was. The end result of Dad's accident with the bull was that I did the evening milking of about sixty cows for the whole of my senior year at school. Needless to say, not a lot of homework got done.
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Old Sep 29 2009, 02:47 AM   #31
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Default Re: Older folks on Pern.

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They usually rake you right down the shin, if it's a level cowshed, like ours was. The end result of Dad's accident with the bull was that I did the evening milking of about sixty cows for the whole of my senior year at school. Needless to say, not a lot of homework got done.
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What I was thinking of, mentioning Artificial Insemination for herdbeasts, is that before you had that, you had more bulls. When I was a teenager, my Dad was almost killed by a big Jersey bull, and he was only playing. If he'd been serious, Dad would never have made it out of the paddock.

The footless one got to be footless because of what we would now call a workplace accident. Then he could no longer work. He'd have at least two reasons to be bitter, one that he couldn't work, and the other that he'd effectively been chucked out of his home because he couldn't work. It probably wasn't all that uncommon either.
Thanks for help. I'm re-read old threads.
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