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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Two Old Men and A Kindred Spirit

Remember that old Dean Martin song, "Everybody Needs Somebody Sometime?"  

I thought of it yesterday as Grandaddy sat with one of his newer old friends having coffee and donuts.  

Grandaddy had to stay in a retirement community while we were building our house and was absolutely dreading living at Redbud with all those "old" people. Remember, Grandaddy was 91 at the time. They had the same table mates at each meal and one of them was a retired professor from IU named Dave Kaser.

I remember MANY years ago, Grandmother and Grandaddy both saying they never spent much time with people their own age, because it made them feel old.  So, by "younger" it could have been people they'd worked with who'd been 20 years younger (and still pretty old to me) or it could have been the very young military families that moved in their trailer park for a stint at Eaker air force base.  

So, this retired professor is a very well-read man having his p.h.d. in library science. Grandaddy said it was all he could do to finish 11th grade.  Dave has traveled the world as a lecturer and Grandaddy traveled the country following whatever construction jobs would put food on the table. He and Grandaddy couldn't have very much in common, but they hit it off very fast.  They talked about everything during those meals and Dave Kaser was the only good thing Grandaddy ever said about Redbud Hills.  

As they visited in our kitchen yesterday, I heard them talk about a little bit of everything.  Old jobs, old times, Dave's international travels and Grandaddy's 30 some-odd moves around this country.  

At some point Afghanistan came up and Grandaddy kept mispronouncing it.  Dave never once tried to correct him.  I don't know why I see that as such a mark of respect, but I do.  And, am sad to say, I wouldn't have had the same restraint.

Grandaddy shared about the day Grandmother died and cried about the fact that he couldn't get to the hospital in time when he knew she was asking for him.  Dave comforted him.

Dave shared about how he does ok, but doesn't get around like he used to and Grandaddy comforted him.

When it was time for Dave to go, Grandaddy called me in.  I took my cue to say that he was welcome any time.  That this is Grandaddy's house, too and that without invitation, we hoped he'd come back whenever he could.  Grandaddy was crying again.

And he stood at the door, watching him drive away for a long time trying not to let me see him cry.

And, so I say, old or young, educated or not, well-spoken or well-"accented"....

....everybody needs somebody sometime.



  1. Beautiful, Kristin. I'm crying here. Your last line is so true. I'm so glad you're my somebody sometimes. You're going to be so, so glad you have written all this down. Love you so.

  2. They stole my line! I'm sitting here crying. I love how you love him. And I love how he loves you. And, I can't wait to love on ALL OF YOU when you get here in exactly 11 days!

  3. What a precious post! That picture did me in.

  4. Well that made me cry, too. What a wonderful post.

  5. I didn't cry, but I loved this post. My wife is such a good writer. And, this is a very moving entry. Dell's eyes definitely light up when he talks about Dave.