This morning, rummaging through “Filing Cabinets of Memories,” I come up with, and open the folder, marked “George.” George Prettyman, that is. Mitch Albom’s book, Tuesdays with Morrie, tells of the relationship between an old man, a younger man, and how, together, they wrestled with the various aspects of life. George was my “Morrie.” It wasn’t just on Tuesdays for us, however, for we shared almost every day through e-mail over a period of many years, and in weekly visits prior to George leaving his home and going to an assisted living facility. Even then, we continued to write one another nearly every day and I visited him every two weeks or so. Our relationship began in 1968 and ended with George’s death at age 94 in 2007.
I have just re-read some excerpts from his messages to me in his later years. I thought you might enjoy reading them as well. I’m still learning from George, “by George!”
“Yes, time is precious. I have been blessed by being given some extra time. [George was 92 years old at the time]. I hope I have used and am using it wisely and what little I do has some worthwhile effect on the people around me.”
“Sometimes I feel as though I am living behind closed doors. [George was 93 and living in the assisted-living facility]. I feel as though I have expelled the Spirit by my tendency to be impatient and grouchy—like the waiters [in the dining room]. I have so many times thanked them for their service, yet when they fall short of my expectation, I flare up and sound like a firecracker. Then I feel so bad inside. I have bruised someone.”
“Please help me to keep from being negative. I don’t appreciate a whiner and I don’t want to become one.”
“I came close to being knocked down by an electric-driven wheel chair today. Art [a fellow resident] had no idea I was behind him as he backed away from the table. He still doesn’t know how close I came to falling. I don’t want to worry him. Betty [another resident in an electric-driven wheel chair at the home] has bumped my chair at the table several times but not enough to hurt the table or me. You see, they have no rear-view mirror and they just don’t think. I try to stay alert to that possible avenue for a tumble, which I don’t need.”
“I have been thinking about buying some shorts to wear this summer but when I look at my underpinning, I have decided people do not need to see my knobby knees nor my skinny-one-day and fat-the-next legs depending upon how much fluid my body has retained. Vanity. Anyway, I like neatly creased long trousers! Isn’t life comical?”
You, too, can learn from George, by George!
|George B. Prettyman|