Lately it seems like I’m always at the grocery store. The boys are growing and eating me out of house and home most days. So once again last week, I was back at Kroger picking up more milk and whatnots.
The store was crowded, a big storm was moving in, and I was in a hurry…just like everyone else.
As it happens, I chose the line that wasn’t moving, but I decided to stick with it instead of changing to a new line.
And I’m glad I did.
The little old man that bagged my groceries was such a pleasure to talk to. He reminded me of my Papa Bill and really made my day.
A couple of hours later, Stew comes in while I’m washing dishes. As he’s making a fresh pot of coffee I say, “I found a new man today.”
Stew knows me so well. Without missing a beat he says, “And how old is this one?”
“I don’t know. 80, maybe?” I say. “I liked him. I wished I could have talked with him longer.”
You see, I have a long history of collecting little old men. Or maybe they collect me. I’m not sure which one really, but it does seem like I have some kind of gravitational pull on them.
They follow me around at the gym.
They speak to me as I’m pumping gas.
They stop me in Home Depot, on the greenway while walking Lucy, and in the grocery store.
They tell me bits and pieces of their life without me asking.
I soak it up and in, feeling my soul grow a little bit lighter for it.
I like talking to them.
They have some good stories to tell, a different perspective on life. They remind me of the patients I took care of when I was a nurse.
These passing snippets of conversations with random strangers contain more passion…and humanity…and zeal for life… than most of the other conservations I normally have.
I started thinking about this over the next few days.
Thinking about how I could actually carry on a real conversation with these gentleman instead of skimming the surface with small talk like younger people tend to do.
And I started to think about volunteering at the senior center where I might have more interactions with guys like this.
So I Googled a center right down the road from us and found…
… the center offers a wide variety of clubs, classes, health and educational opportunities for adults 50 and over…
Good Lord. I’m almost old enough to be a participant instead of a volunteer at the senior center.
Why, oh why, do I think I’m so much younger than I actually am?