Yesterday I was out and about, visiting a senior center, where about a bunch of people over a certain age met to visit, eat, and have a good time. My guess is that most were widowed or widowered because they arrived alone, or with someone who might have been a sister or brother. I didn’t know any of them but found them very friendly. I was peddling books, of course, my new avocation and was happy to display them. I could have been called the door greeter because that’s what I mostly did. It’s a role I’m good at and enjoy.
Without fail, these seniors coming through the door automatically asked me, “Good morning. How are you?” and I responded with the same phrases. It’s a standard meeting greeting these days, but do we really want to know? I became stymied when they answered truthfully, “I’m in bad shape today,” or “You wouldn’t believe it if I told you,” or “Don’t ask.” It was like a parade of troubles, but I sympathized with them because who among us doesn’t have a whole bunch of cranky bones and uncooperative muscles, along with issues revolving around children, finances, or simply feeling useless. As I watched, I was surprised to see these same folks, as soon as they joined their friends, become animated, laughing and talking as if they had not a care in the world. It was good to see the transformation. They suddenly got a spring in their step, almost as if they were on a pogo stick. What was it? I knew immediately. It was people. The human touch.
It was easy to see that everyone was accepted and honored as they were greeted like old friends with hugs and handshakes and the pogo sticks started moving. I suspect that few of these people knew each other outside of the senior center venue, but they were known and loved here.
I applaud the various senior centers around the valley. They offer a valuable service to people of a certain age. They provide transportation to those who need it, a meal (yesterday they offered Idaho beef stew, carrot sticks, and a bar, I was curious, but didn’t ask). They provide exercise classes and shopping trips and help seniors who need and want extra support in all kinds of ways. And most of all they provide pogo sticks of energy, which help all of us with getting-up-and-going.
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