Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Conversation with a 92 year old gentleman!-Words of Wisdom

     Having a late lunch early dinner tonight I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with a 92 year "young" gentleman who graduated in 1938 from our local high school.  He had such wisdom and a great sense of humor.  He walked into the restaurant announcing that he was definitely the oldest citizen in the place.  It was a grand entrance and he definitely brought life into a quiet lunch/dinner.  What struck me the most was his mental sharpness and his ability to speak so eloquently.  He said in conversation "I didn't have the opportunity to go to college back when I was young but knew that it was important to get a trade".  He went to trade school to become a "tool and die maker".  He was proud of his 30 plus years in that trade.
     The conversation moved on to the importance of education today and to downright hard work and desire.  What was pretty interesting was that he still meets regularly with a few classmates and friends that are in their late 80's at a local Friendly's restaurant.  This is done regularly every month. It turned out one of the individuals is a relative of mine and two of the individuals were classmates with my dad and mom.
    Speaking of his time in the service during World War II and various jobs that he had done during that timeframe.  He asked if today's students study about the war and I said "most likely" in history classes but not to the extent that they should perhaps.  Just my thought.  His vibrance and his wisdom were truly appreciated.
    You may be asking "how does this relate to "Everyone's Shadow Is The Same Color".  Here goes.  As the interaction continued I was standing and the gentleman said "can you imagine that when I was living in my early years that there were still "slave-like" situations and today we have a "black" President.  I was wondering where the conversation was going to go next and as he began to continue I could notice him almost tearing up in disbelief.  He continued to say that when he was in Mississippi he can recall walking down a sidewalk and seeing a sign above a drinking fountain that said "WHITE'S ONLY".  He continue to say how to this day he cannot believe the treatment that occurred to the "black" people during those days and that he was so happy that in his lifetime he would get to see a "black" President.  His voice softened almost in a saddened way.
     The conversation then turned to Oprah Winfrey where he said "can you believe that she's a billionaire"?  A friend and I added and "she's a woman too".  I said to him "perhaps it would be great for you to meet her".  He smiled.
     The amazing thing about all of this was here was a man I did not know but I'm glad I struck up a conversation with him. The wisdom of "age" and "experience" in life is so valuable.  Hearing him speak with passion was outstanding. Another life's lesson.
     Think about what this man has experienced since 1918.  Amazing.

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