Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Southern Sweetness

We live in a culture that doesn't generally respect age. We tend to act as if hanging around older folks is contagious...that we'll wake up with gray hair or stiff knees if we say more than hello in passing to a senior citizen. We want to live longer, a respectable goal, but we don't want to LOOK as if we've lived longer. There's nothing wrong with trying to keep in shape for health reasons. Age doesn't frighten me...that strained mask of surgical intervention for "perpetual youth" does. Sorry, but I don't want anything nipped, tucked, lifted or shifted. It's my same policy with birthdays...how you look means you're still alive and kicking. And occasionally kicking back.

My most "mature" senior came in today, a wonderful widower named Herbie who's 97. He bowls with us every week and goes dancing twice a week...where he dances with ALL the ladies, as he feels letting one be a wallflower is a shame. And Herbie knows about flowers. This morning he brought in a huge bouquet of camellias. It's winter. It's suppose to be cold and yet yesterday we hit 81 degrees and set a new record. The flowers wanted to open up and drink in the sun. It will get cold again in a day or so and their pretty heads will droop. Herbie wanted to share before that happened. He took great pride in showing me the four varieties, one of which resembled a rose. I promised to put them in a big bowl so the others could enjoy them. And I admitted a couple would land on my desk to make me smile.

Those flowers warmed my heart twice. Besides the kindness of sharing with the group, how many men do you know who grin with pride as they recount a long deceased wife planting those very bushes 30 years ago? The fact he thought enough of us to make a special trip to share them is priceless. A lot of people complain about Wednesday being "Hump Day", cresting the hill of a long week. Well not today. Every woman who came in today saw the flowers and sighed. When I shared how they got here, they sighed again. Older women appreciate the simple, heartfelt gestures of life.

Wouldn't it be nice if that were contagious?

1 comment:

Bonnie said...

We need more random acts of kindness!! Hurray for Herbie!!