Thursday, August 25, 2011
Mixing With Those Young People
It was a Tuesday morning and Keith was attempting to return to the customary at the church. Beth was thrilled to be home and to catch the news from Becky and Michael about their time with her Mom. Blanche would be coming over that evening with take-out Chinese. She had to see for herself that Beth was on the mend.
Back to the morning jog and over to the office in sweats for messages and final strategy for the day. He was looking forward to being "back in the saddle". All reports were very positive about Craig Randall's interim help. From a phone conversation of Monday evening it was clear that Craig was charged up.
No one else in the office. Stack of pink messages. Top one was to call Jerry Caswell, long time buddy of George Cromarty. Three rings and Jerry had it, "Haylo".
"Jerry, it's Keith returning your call. What's new?"
"Oh. that was pretty quick. Been meaning to congratulate you on your initiative of late. Talked it all over with George...You know, before the stroke. Tell me are you planning semi-retirement?"
"Aw come on Jerry, you know me better than that."
"Of course I do. But here's what I'm calling about. Betty and I have heard that the ideas coming down the pipe include some sort of joint gathering involving seniors and young folks. That one really catches our fancy, and I will tell you why.
About eight years ago we had a wonderful trip to Britain. Three weeks. Rented car. All up and down the island. Never forget it. We made it to Windsor with two days to spare before flying out of Heathrow. Spent an evening in a traditional pub-dining room. Spirits were up. Place was full. Over in one secluded little corner table, gas lamp above, we saw an unusual duo.
A college student was enjoying a pint with a man in his upper seventies. Their conversation was free and fascinating. Obviously topics were coming up which found mutual interest, as the insights of the generations were being shared. The youth clearly had opportunities to hook up with some of his buddies, but did not budge.
I remember commenting to Betty that the sight was a rare one as far as our culture was concerned. How sad. How much wisdom to be passed on, mutual understanding and respect to be gained. Energy and enthusiasm to be absorbed from the young ones. Rather than drawing up walls of distrust or frustration. Being more alone and seemingly out of it.
Keith, if it's alright with you, please count the two of us in for contribution, ideas and time in this thing you're calling "Church of the Ages". We like the sound of it very much.
Was up to see George. Day before yesterday. Quite a kicker isn't it? No speech. One side all twisted up. But still, he managed a few smiles and kept things going, albeit slowly, with pen and paper. Love to find a way to get him face to face with some of these young people. So many of us could benefit. Thanks for calling back.
...And by the way, I know that retirement is far from your mind these days. Blessings to Beth."