Monday Morning Musings

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



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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