While I was sitting in my car last night waiting for my daughter to get out of play rehearsal, I noticed the security guard making his rounds. I’ve seen him before. He smiles a lot and seems to know everyone. Finally, he sat down on a bench so I got out and introduced myself. Within minutes we went from talking about the economy to sharing our philosophy of life and death. Turns out we agree on pretty much everything.

Several times during our conversation he made reference to being ‘old.’ His sentences were peppered with, ‘at my age,’ and “now that I’m getting on in years.” He said he never worries about dying: “Just keep my eye on the journey—not the end.” He shared what he felt was the best advice he ever gave his kids: “Don’t ever lie to no one. Cuz if you do, you can count on the fact that somebody gonna lie to you.” He also told me that he used to work two jobs but gave one of them up, “Cuz I figured there’s so many people without a job, at least I could give up one of mine for them.”

Our exchange was so easy and full of laughter, an onlooker might have thought we’d been friends for years, not 15 minutes. It was time for him to make his rounds again. As he got up to leave, I finally asked him just how old he was. He let out a long, slow whistle between his partly, missing teeth and said, “Fifty-two.” Well, I guess Granny wasn’t the only one to give me good advice. ‘Younger’ people are full of good counsel, too—if you stop to listen. (Helen Hudson is the author of, “Kissing Tomatoes,” a memoir of the years before and after her grandmother’s Alzheimer’s.


2 thoughts on “STOP TO LISTEN

  1. Helen,
    I love your blogs! You are a gifted writer. Thank you for letting me listen in.
    BUT . . . . where did you find an old man, wise and wonderful, who is only 52? Ouch! ! !


  2. 52 is old??? Good gracious, I swear I really don’t feel any different now than I did when I was 12. The wrinkles are different, and I can’t run nearly as easily as I once did in high school and college. But, if anything, I guess I’m hopeful I’ve only reached middle age. Were it in my power, I would have multiple sets of children and careers (would love to find the ultimate cure to those who are paraplegics\quadraplegics).


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