Reub's journey

27 November 2013

The field trip

 

A field trip that includes lunch on the town is a special feature of my colored pencil class and everybody looks forward to it. They had pushed tables together to accommodate our group of 19 students in the dimly lit group-seating-area upstairs at the Glenwood restaurant. I chose an awkward seat in the far corner where I would be on the edge of conversations between people who have known each other for years. These were not young students, and I was their least-known, most junior member.

I had planned on being alone in the crowd, but coming my way from across the room, clambering over chairs and smiling, was Irene. She squeezed behind me and forced her wiry frame into the worst seat in the house.

Oh this is fine, I'll just straddle these table legs, she says.

 Irene that's an awful seat. Let's move.

Irene turns down her hearing aid and says: I like to watch people's faces. You can read them, you know. You can always tell who has troubles. Look at Adele.

I look at Adele, but she doesn't seem any different. Agreement seems easiest. Yeah.
We don't change seats, but I change the subject.

Irene you look awesome. Girl, what's your secret?

She regards me seriously, and says I have found the source, I really have. 

We are in a crowded room with people ordering lunch all around and we stare at one another.


What is the source? I ask.


The source...is gratitude. Everyday I say thankyouthankyouthankyou. I say it all day long. Thank you for this day.


Surpassing the trip to the art gallery, I have just had my favorite moment of the field trip. The waiter interrupts us and Irene talks him into something that's not on the menu. Irene is 93 years old. Everybody should have such a friend.




Irene's drawing-in-progress of a barn that reminds her of the family's farm in Montana in the 1920's.


16 comments:

  1. oh, i love this woman. thank you for giving us a taste of her 'pluck' and her warmth. :)

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    1. I love her too. I wish we could all be so perfectly alive into our old age.

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  2. I really love the way you write. Your words draw me completely in to whatever story you're telling. Thank you for introducing Irene. She sounds like a wise and wonderful woman. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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    1. Gail, thank you. I take your words seriously because I know you read voraciously. Irene is indeed a wise and wonderful person! Happy Thanksgiving indeed.

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  3. Everyone should have such a brave and open friend.

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    1. Yes, really. I'm reading the first of several books she has written about growing up in Montana in the 20's and 30's. Pretty cool.

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  4. That's a wonderful secret. Thanks so much for sharing this!

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  5. RG, it's a good secret for Thanksgiving isn't it?

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  6. Sounds like yo lucked out at lunch. He painting looks good and rather typical of barn photos that I see from out west on my photography site. I really like the style.

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    1. AV there was something specific about that barn that brought to mind the farms of Montana. Her finished drawing was really good.

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  7. Replies
    1. I still smile when I think of that afternoon.

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  8. There are so many great role models out there. Now I have another one.

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  9. Irene is enjoying the freedom that comes with age. I look forward to being as loose at her age. My grandson is a chef and told a story this week about a woman who sucked the whipped cream off the plate at the buffet before asking for more and then smiled saying she could do things like that because she was 90 years old.

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    1. Yes, she is definitely doing that, although I'm reading a book she wrote about growing up in rural Montana in the 20's & you can see that she was always a bit of a free spirit.

      I can't believe the whipped cream story!!! Wow.

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