Monday Morning Musings

Posted on November 13, 2017 under Monday Morning Musings with 5 comments

Irreplaceable

 

Today, family and friends of James MacPherson will come together one last time to say farewell. Many of us hoped that James would be around to sing us into the afterlife. It will be difficult for our choir to sing for James and not with him.

It is often said that no one is irreplaceable. I agree with this 99% of the time. But not in the case of James. Who can possibly replace his rich baritone voice, play the pipe organ with mastery and direct a choir… simultaneously? But let’s celebrate the fact that we had him in in our midst all these years.

There will only be one James MacPherson.

What are the determinants of a long, healthy and happy life? I have put this question to many people in their 90’s. The answers are predictable and you know them all. The one that deserves a lot of attention and isn’t mentioned as often as others, is fellowship.

The flip side of fellowship is loneliness. There can’t possibly be anything worse than growing old without being surrounded by family and friends. Years ago, I visited a lady at the RK on a regular basis. She was adopted from an orphanage as an infant and never knew her parents. She remembers the day her foster parents came to the orphanage. “ Oh, please pick me, please pick me,” she implored. Most of us haven’t had to deal with that emotion.

I took my daughter Betsy on many of these visits and we would often sing for M. Invariably, M. would be in tears when we left, telling us of her unyielding loneliness.

Last week I received a call to fill in as a spare for a game of bridge. I haven’t played much since Lou Brosha died. I often joke that the only thing I learned at University during my undergraduate years, was how to play bridge. As the years pile up, I realize that it may have been the most important thing I learned. Bridge has kept me in touch with people, not in the way that Facebook keeps me in touch with old friends. There’s something wholesome and nourishing being at a table in close proximity, playing cards, seeing smiling faces and sharing a few laughs. Now THAT is good for the soul. They say it’s also good for the mind.

It didn’t take me long to say yes. My playing partners were veterans. I was the rookie. Their ages… 95, 93,  and 79. For two and a half hours we played the cards we were dealt. In the background, we listened to Elvis sing Amazing Grace and several other gospel tunes. Lots of Irish and Scottish music as well,  including my new favorite “ Fields of Athenry. “ There were two dishes of candy strategically placed so that they were in easy reach!

I made several rookie mistakes and as a result won the boobie prize: four shiny quarters. But truly, I won the grand prize having the opportunity to spend time with warm, witty, and wonderful people. They are living examples of growing old well.

It’s not enough to just grow old.

Have a great week.

P.S. Coldest Remembrance Day ever? Several people seem to think so. A new term was coined on Saturday to explain how cold is cold for we seniors: It’s called “ age adjusted wind chill factor.” !

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Comments

5 Responses to Monday Morning Musings

  1. Greg Albert says:

    That was very interesting Len.I to was put up for adoption when I was born but never got adopted.I was put in foster homes here in Antigonish CO.Found my real Mom in 1975 but never got to meet her.It is a long story and she passed away at 97 a year ago in Halifax.Anyway keep the stories coming as I really in joy reading them.Have a good week and behave your self !!!!

  2. Heavy heart today for us all .

  3. Yvonne Fox says:

    That’s a good one, Len. I envy those who play cards, especially bridge. A friend who plays weekly made me aware of the complexities and need of a good memory on our morning walks. The Evergreen Seniors Club in Port Hawkesbury has scheduled card and board games that continue year round which is a fantastic opportunity for people to enjoy fellowship. Unfortunately for me, I haven’t been wise enough to learn.
    Sorry to hear about your organist and choir directors death. I’ve been in choirs since I was 9 years old in the First United Church’s Junior choir in Truro under the capable direction of Professor Douglas Baker.
    We are so lucky to have Al Fougere as our organist and choir director here in the Strait area. He is so talented and shares it so willingly with the community.

  4. Deedie Mehlman says:

    Thanks Len for the articles about Jimmy. I still remember clearly when Slim died in high school and Jimmy got us in the choir through the funeral mass. He was so patient and kind and good to us as we practiced with him and sang our hearts out for Slim. Jimmy sang at my wedding and helped and guided me through my parents wakes and funerals and just two years ago when Martin died as well. He was so compassionate and caring. He will be greatly missed.

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