When Harry, Norman & Robert Met Lisa

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Three wise men walked into a Podiatrist office. No, this is not the beginning of a joke about aging feet, it’s the story of one of the best days I’ve had at work in a long time.

Let me introduce you to Harry, Norman & Robert. Three interesting, intelligent and inspiring men who walked into the office, dropped some wisdom and went about their day.

Harry -83 years young:  Harry is a recent surgery patient with a wonderful sense of humor.

When he came in for his first post-op appointment he said, and I quote: “I want to thank Lisa for answering all of my questions, she is a fountain of knowledge.” I asked him to call my children to inform them of that fact, he thought I was kidding … I was not.

Believe it or not, the accurate conclusion that Harry made about me was not what captured my heart. But, it certainly didn’t hurt.

Harry told me that he volunteers in a first-grade classroom, and has been doing it for years. He was so happy that the teacher had the class send him Get Well wishes after his surgery, but there was a catch, they had to include a joke. Laughter is the best medicine.

This gesture filled Harry’s heart. He told me that he enjoys volunteering in the First Grade classroom because it gives him the joy to see these children enter the door not certain what to expect and leave with confidence.

He went on to explain that he has a special bond with this teacher. Harry lost his son years ago in November, just when this teacher was getting married. One young life ending as one began.

Shortly after the teacher was married she found out she was expecting and 3 months into the pregnancy her new husband died suddenly. Grief, let me introduce you to grief.

Their losses brought them together and they are wonderful friends who helped each other heal. He’s been volunteering ever since.

83 years old, still thinking, still living and still making a mark in this world.

Norman-86 years young: He came to us a few months ago via his family doctor, which is never good, and let’s just say that “the little piggy that went to the market” never came back.

When he called the other day he was very nervous that “the little piggy that stayed home” was on its way out too so we made room on the schedule. Podiatry office humor.

Norman came in as if he was the guest of honor at a celebration, not someone with a potential gangrenous toe.

He was wearing a Villanova cap to “make the doctor happy” since his daughter is a student and it was the day of the championship game. Well played Norman, well-played indeed.

Norman was excited to reveal he had recently written a paper on aging. When I took him to the exam room I had to inquire about the paper. I was very curious.

I was thinking he wrote it for the AARP magazine. Nope, he said, “I wrote it for my family, I want them to know how quickly it comes up on you.” A warning of sorts.

The title of the paper is “Getting Old Is Not For Sissies.” Norman told me he stole that line from Bette Davis, an actress I wouldn’t know because, and I quote “you’re too young to remember her.” He had me at “too young.”

Norman still can’t believe he is 86. He doesn’t recognize the person in the mirror. Still has a lot to share with this world. Has an incredible sense of humor, and wants nothing more than for his family to be happy.

Norman is going to drop off a copy of the paper for me to read. No worries, I will share.

Robert-91 years young: Robert came in for a routine appointment. As soon as he came to the window he showed my co-worker a photo of him and his wife from 1941. They looked like movie stars.

Robert is a tall man, but frail. No doubt more so since he lost the love of his life. He told my co-worker a story that left them both with watery eyes.

Later I asked her about it and of course I too was left with watery eyes. We’re so sappy sometimes.

Robert explained that he and his wife were sitting at the kitchen table and she asked: “How long have we been married?” Robert responded with “65 years dear.” Her response was “I have not regretted one day in 65 years.” Robert explained that even though she is gone, he is still stunned by her words. He is a walking, talking broken heart.

I was also taken back by my co-workers response to Robert which was “It was nice to be able to hear that Robert.”  Indeed, it was.

I must say, it was a pleasure to pick-up these three men while I … Enjoy the Ride!

 

32 responses

  1. Lisa, I love the picture and their stories. This was a nice little tribute to the meaning of their lives. I heard Bette Davis’ quote from Billy Graham. You think the reverend had a crush on her? Well done, Keith

    1. Oh, so you’re in the “too young” to remember group too. I think everyone had a crush on those eyes at one time or another.

  2. Great stories, Lise. And remarkable men. We need to focus on such stories instead of the awful stuff we hear around us all the time.

    1. So true! Lord knows they have much more to offer us.

  3. What a lovely post. I can remember chats with some seniors when I was a teenager. Some of their stories and memories were priceless, invigorating, and downright cheeky!

  4. This was a wonderful, inspiring post. I used to love sitting and talking with my grandfather. What wonderful gift these gentleman have shared.

    1. Thank you! There is a lot to learn from this generation and I find it necessary to pause and listen.

  5. We can learn so much from our elderly if we would only take the time to stop & listen.🙂

    1. So True! I’m a good listener.

  6. It’s so great that they are of clear mind if not sound feet. I always say I want to die before my mind leaves me. Great post.

    1. Seriously! These 3 are not only sound their functioning!

  7. Your post brought tears to my eyes. What lovely men and how generous (and knowledgeable) you are to share their stories with us. I am really looking forward to reading Norman’s letter.

    1. I felt the same way. These men and their stories really touched my heart. Norman called twice last week to tell me it’s coming, he has to depend on a ride.

  8. Would you please give each of them a hug from me?

    1. Their old, not dead Elyse. If I hug them they might think I’m interested. Men are men. I’ll try… lol

  9. I enjoyed meeting those three guys, Lisa. I too have wondered “who is that old guy?” in the mirror lately. I tried to remember when I first thought that, maybe about a year or two ago. I certainly don’t feel as old as I look. I should read that paper sometime.

    1. I feel 18! I can’t wait to read his paper! I will share it when he brings it in … he is a trip.

  10. That is a remarkable story of three fascinating men. My wish is to be as interesting and full of laughter when the 80’s loom ahead. Hmmmm. They seem to be already looming. 🙂

    1. Seriously! Grumpiness does not look good when you’re old…ugh.

  11. Absolutely adorable!

  12. I know I’m late reading this, but timely considering the Mimi saga. You write so well Lisa. There’s always meat and potatoes in your prose…shouldn’t be surprised. You’re Italian after all 🙂

  13. Oh now watery eyes here, too. Did you get to read Not for Sissies?

    1. He dropped it off a week ago. Is very good and in research paper format. Unfortunately he was sent to the ER on Monday so I haven’t been able to discuss it with him.

      1. Hope he’s doing better!

  14. Wonderful! As always! Love your writing, hope all is well… I have written a few lately, but still need to catch up on reading. So good to read your words once more. Cathi

  15. What wonderful hitchhikers! Thanks for sharing, Lisa! xoM

    1. They truly are wonderful people!

  16. […] I recently wrote about three of patients, that in spite of their age, are living vital active lives and they aren’t afraid to share their wisdom amongst the masses on the importance of doing just that. When Harry, Norman & Robert Met Lisa […]

  17. This was a good story. I like these kinds of meetings, run-ins. You don’t expect it, but it’s awesome when you meet someone, younger or older, and what they say or do sticks with you. Usually it’s the older AARP folks that have such great stories. Lovely post.

    1. Thank you Guat! I appreciate you stopping by.

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