A gorgeous October Sunday morning awaited me as I prepared to head out for an early walk before I went off to church. I decided to take a route which I don’t usually travel to, which brings me close to RT.9, the bustling highway at the end my long road. I was looking forward to taking a nice brisk, fall walk, making sure I’d be back in plenty of time to get ready for my UU service that I enjoy attending as well. As I was walking down the street, close to the end, I noticed an older person looking into their mailbox, then heading back up the driveway. Something made her stop and look down the street; she saw me and turned around returning to the end of the driveway. My immediate thought was that something was wrong and she was looking for some help. She was looking for her Sunday paper, her connection to the world.
I said good morning to her and decided to introduce myself to her. She immediately launched into a truly lovely story of her life in that house, her husband John who was the love of her life, now deceased. We just stood there in her driveway, with the beautiful lovely breeze of this autumn morning, the sun shining on our shoulders, becoming friends. I have lived on this road for 28 years and never met this gem of a person. I never made it to church that morning, but, my soul sure was nourished.
Many years ago, Joan Baez, sang a song entitled, “Hello in there,” written by John Prine. It was a reminder that as people age, they lose connection with family, friends, livelihood and feeling that their life matters. Ever since I heard that song, whenever I see an older person sitting on their front porch or even just standing in their yard, I wave. Without fail, they always wave back, grateful that someone noticed their existence, even a stranger.
With life being so full for each of us, so busy, we may not take the time to experience these precious moments in life that sustain us. I would encourage you to take note of older people around you, the riches they have to share and say, “Hello in there, hello.” You won’t be disappointed for taking that bit of extra time in your day. Maybe, like me, you’ll meet a gem of a person, someone I’m so grateful t0 now call my friend. Her name is Violet.
Ya’ know old trees just grow stronger,
Old rivers grow wider ev’ry day.
But old people they just grow lonesome
Waiting for someone to say, “Hello in there, hello.”
~ John Prine