Each time I see him he sits slumped in a chair. Says very little and takes no notice of everything going on around him. Who is he? What is his story? My job is to work around him and I do. I smile right at his face when his eyes are open. When he walks the halls I wave every single time and smile. No words are exchanged, just a wave and a smile and he always waves back.
Two weeks ago he met my boys and made the stair step motion with his hands and smiled at each one of them. He was curious, but asked no questions, just watched each one of them and smiled. When the boys had left he went back to his lazy day slumber in the chair. So much activity in this one place, and again he takes no notice.
I chatted with the gal at the front desk about him and said he is always dressed so well. Cardigan, nice trousers, socks that match, and nice shoes. He must have been someone in his day. She gave me tidbits about his life in this place, but nothing about his history. History. So much history in this building and so few take note of it. Everyone is busy, doing their jobs and history squeaks past in a wheel chair. History slowly walks at a snails pace hanging onto the railing. As I past I tell her to slow down that she could get a speeding ticket for that pace and she smiles and asks my name.
I walked down the hallway today and noticed him leaving his room. I smiled and this time said "Hello "Ellis". He stopped looked at me and asked my name. I told him and he smiled. I told him he looked dapper and he smiled bigger. I said the magic words that took a sleepy old man into non-stop chatter for the next hour. I said he looked like he was going out to play 18 holes, and wished him well. This old man could hardly pick up a golf club and swing but his face exploded with joy and he went back into his room, invited me in, and showed me what his life looked like.
He proudly showed me the winning silver cup of golf tournament back in 1954. It was heavily tarnished and I polished is shiny for him. He showed me his trophies and told me about his career in golf. He is a sharp man. Did not misunderstand one question I asked about his life, and shared the love of his life for over 60 years who passed away four years ago. His eyes filled with tears to speak of his wife. He showed me his golf ball used in the hole in one he made and the newspaper article about it. He said it took him 30 years of playing golf to get that hole in one. He shared story after story about his life and golf. There on a table, covered in dust was a picture of a young man all decked out in golf attire. I asked him who that is. He said it was him. I said do you remember who that young man was and he said "I sure do". I dusted it off and polished it too.
We chatted away and he was tickled to know that I owned golf clubs and could talk the language of a golfer. I told him I don't play much, but my boys get out more with my husband which is more important. For some reason it meant a lot to me that he agreed. I lost track of time and realized I had to go. As I excused myself, I promised I would come and visit again and he could talk more about his life and then he said this..."If I had a lollipop I would give it you." I guess I have that affect on 96 year old retired golfers. As I was walking out the door, he said he wanted to show me one more thing. He reached behind the TV stand and there he was holding his prize putter. I don't know a thing about what a prize putter might look like but now I do now.
I now have new friend of many growing friendships with those who have lived more life than double mine. I am so blessed to hear these stories and have the time to listen. Today this event touched my heart.