Friday, December 7, 2012

Learning From Our Elders

Recently I stood next to a 93 year old man before getting on a train from Vermont to NYC. He was having trouble locating his ticket so I offered to help. As we got on the train the conductor was able to
quickly sort out the ticket situation.

He was the sweetest little man, well dressed in khaki from head to toe. As I started to eat my huge feast he mentioned that he did not have breakfast and it was already. I was more than happy to share my food with him. I gave him a banana and he burst into song, "but, we have no bananas" he sang, non-stop! It brought a smile to my face:) The people around thought we were both crazy!!

As we started getting to know each other I could see he was having trouble with his memory. He was not getting lost in conversation. when I asked a question he had to stop and think for a while… Then with a jolt, he remembering and answer the question with great detail.

Heres what I found out about my traveling companion.

He was the last surviving member of his family. He travels all over the us by train visiting friends
from his childhood,which means a lotto him.  He used to be a singer and a tap dancer and performed at hisschool. And he still performs at his school reunion. He still skis,plays the harmonica and is starting his own business. He's designing hand making boxes to store small boxes of organic olive oils for his local farmers market. He has an order for 50 waiting for him to make. Well 51, I ordered one:) He said he would mail it to me!!!
To my surprise he did not have a cell phone, Facebook or computer… He has a small note book and a stack on pieces of paper with everyone's contact information.

I can't tell you what a wonderful gift this was. He may have thought I was helping him, I was the one being helped. Being thought a priceless lesson. Slowing down, enjoying the simple moments in life can have a lasting impact. In a world consumed by social media a 93 year old man can show us its not the only way to communicate, stay in touch and show love.

As we approached Penn station I quickly turned to him and asked "whats the best advice you can give to me based on your life's lessons" he chuckled and turned to me "remember its not over till its over".. he said.

I can't tell you how meeting him has had an impact on my life.

In this busy world we sometimes forget the old. We forget the road that was paved, the tears that were shed. Lets take this moment and think about our elders and say thank you. Thanks for making all things possible..


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