When I was in my 20’s, at times, I felt like I was 61….and now that I am in my 60’s…I, at times feel like that I have returned to my 20’s.
Age, as it relates to a zest for life, appears to be a moving target!
I was raised in a conservative environment and have, since my adulthood, become increasingly liberal in my social outlook.
The move people that I encounter…the more that I realize that we are all members of the same, diverse, human family.
When my first, foreman, at SIUC’s Building Services, was Jim Walls, an African American and my mentor…I saw that he was my friend.
Jim smoked the most, aromatic, cigars…and I believe that this is where I first saw the beauty and the mystery in an occasional stogie.
Jim told a supervisor, of mine who was mistreating me, that, ‘I was his son…but that I just would not call him daddy.’ The, disagreeable boss, sweetened up, and acknowledged to Jim that he knew that we were close.
My life-long friend, Jeff, is Jewish. Ever since I have known Jeff…I have wanted to be Jewish! And, I really think that I am!
Jeff, sent me birthday wishes, yesterday from Paris. He and Margo and Mary Jane, Jonathon, and I took the, Chunnel, to Paris in 2012, and had three, glorious days.
Jeff says that we must do it again…and I, heartily, agree!
I saw one of the finest chancellors that SIUC has ever had, Sam Goldman, at Schnucks today. He did not see me. I reflected on what an honor it was to sit and talk with him and partake of his wisdom and understanding of humanity. Sam functioned as the Rabbi in Carbondale for many years…and may still do so.
My friend, Alfie, is Muslim. Alfie worked with me at Building Services and he is a fellow member of our human family…that has an extraordinary spirit. Alfie draws people to him with his magnetic personality.
Simply being around, Alfie, was an encouragement to me. He prays to his Creator, according to the manner of his faith, and I pray to my Creator, according to the manner that I have been taught…and it is the same…Creator.
My Hindu friend, who was the Dean of Engineering and Technology, is a kind gentleman. As we drove, for over two hours, looking for a restaurant that he could get something to eat that did not contain meat…I admired his dedication to his faith.
When I, returned him, to his home, in Carbondale, at the conclusion of our journey, he would not enter his house until he waved goodbye to me, from his yard.
In Tunis, Tunisia…our tour guide wept when he spoke of he United States kindness to his country. We stopped at the World War II United States Cemetery…where the graves were kept immaculate and it was, indeed, the most beautiful cemetery that I have ever seen.
On our first night in Edinburgh, Scotland a gentleman, who was in a wheelchair, asked me to assist him to his feet to facilitate his ordering at the counter of the restaurant that we were at. This man spoke to me, so kindly, regarding the highlights of Edinburgh…that…now I love Edinburgh!
At 61 years old…I have learned that if I had another 61 years…I would only have begun…to plumb the knowledge of God’s multicolored bouquet of the human family.