Wednesday afternoon, the weather in KC was so gorgeous that I decided to veer off my typical walking route and hike over to Starbucks for an iced coffee. The walk back took me through our neighborhood park. As I passed the tennis courts, an elderly gentleman -- walking on the other side of the path -- paused a distance away and commented that he was surprised no one was playing tennis.
Since he had stopped, I stopped. And we took the time to talk to each other. In 10 or 15 minutes of chatting, I discovered a lot about this friendly gent, including:
His name is Homer, and he was married to Wanda Lorraine for 69 years; they got married when they were both 20. Wanda died last January. Not long after that, Homer moved up here from Texas to live with his son, a retired professor.
His life, he told me, has been filled with joy. He and Wanda met when they were 16 and he knew, right from the start, she was the one. In their 69 years together, there were hard times, of course, but they had a good marriage and raised a family that remains close-knit today. Homer and Wanda were both active in their church.
She was, he assured me, a wonderful woman.
Homer (who is 91, if you're doing the math) said he stopped playing tennis not too long ago, and tried racquetball, but just didn't like it as much. He still goes for a walk every morning and every afternoon; he figures it's a one-mile path, so he's clocking two miles per day.
He's starting to feel a little old, he admitted. That's one of the changes since Wanda died.
Over the years, I've noticed that people often talk to me about their lives, but don't ask about mine. Homer, however, wanted to know my name, and we talked about my family. When I told him Tom and I had been married 35 years, he laughed. "Just getting started," he said.
Talking to Homer was a moment of pure pleasure in the midst of everything else happening in the universe. He and I wouldn't have shared the joy if we hadn't both slowed down, made eye contact, smiled, and taken the time to talk and listen.
The moment was good for my soul -- and my creative juju. I haven't had the urge to write a post in weeks. And yet, here we are ...
|Old people tell the best stories. |
I'm not even telling you about how a cute girl
prompted schoolboy Homer to switch churches.
Rest assured, that was before Wanda.