The Old Man

I saw him sitting in a wheelchair in the doctor’s waiting room as I walked in with my shiny new five day old baby girl.  He immediately took notice of my sweet girl and commented about how tiny she was.  He remarked that he hadn’t been that size in 92 years. 

“That’s right, Daddy. You’re 92 years old today,” said the elderly man sitting with him. “Here, let me wipe your chin,” he added as he gently dabbed away the drool that had escaped from the old man’s open mouth.

I smiled and asked the father if he could recall his earliest memory. He said he remembered his house with the dirt floor and picking cotton. Fields and fields of cotton.

“Those were hard times,” he almost whispered. “Hard times. The Depression, you know.” His gaze drifted toward the window and further out to an imaginary field of long ago.

I looked down at the sleeping babe in my arms and in an instant I saw the man as a newborn wrapped in a homespun shawl knitted by his own mother in the house with the dirt floor. I thought about how simple his birth must have been, with no paperwork to fill out or newborn screens to pass or matching i.d. bracelets to deactivate before leaving the hospital.

He continued to talk about how he helped his family out by picking peanuts when the cotton was all gone. In a flash he changed into a 13 year old, just the age of my own son. I saw him barefoot and dirty, but with his head held high with pride in his ability to contribute to the needs of his family.

“You have always been a hard worker, haven’t you, Daddy?” asked the son as he wiped his father’s chin again.

I thought of how the father must have loved and cared for the son so long ago, and now that love and care had come full circle in the son’s gentle attention to his father.

A nurse interrupted my thoughts by calling out a name I can’t remember. The son rose to wheel his father to his appointment and I looked out the window to search for the fields of long ago.

I never saw the fields the old man had remembered and my gaze returned to my wiggling baby. I silently wondered what her life will have in store. Will she be sitting in a waiting room with me some day, wheeling me where I can’t go on my own? Will she speak with pride of helping out her family during hard times?

I silently thanked God for giving me this child whose future is yet to be told.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (JER 29:11)

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Comments

  1. Shannon Ryan says:

    Wow Connie, that brought tears to my eyes. Beautiful and so well written. Thank you so much for sharing that. Best of luck to you and your new baby. Love, Shannon Ryan

  2. Elizabeth Jaeckle says:

    Beautiful, so many of us look past people in those circumstances, forgetting that they are people just like us. God bless you.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    I love the way you write. It is so easy to overlook people and the comparisons you drew were right on. Thank you!

  4. Beautifully written… you have a gift Connie! Thank you for taking the time to notice, talk with, and write about the man you met. I call them my “moments from God” where He reminds me of what is truly important in life. May God continue to bless you as your raise up your children to seek His face.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this. It reminds me of my own dad who grew up during the Depression, picking tobacco to help his family survive. There is so much our generation could learn from that generation. I’m sorry so many of them and the lessons they could teach are gone.

  6. Beautiful post. It brought tears to the eyes of this mama who’s given up on trying to convince herself or anyone else that she’s not an emotional person.

  7. Such a simple post yet so profound. I sit here crying thankful tears. Thank you
    Shorty

  8. What a wonderful story. Both of my moms parents are gone its hard to believe we lost granny almost 4 month ago. I have very fond memories of my grandparents and miss them dearly. My grandparents taught me a lot of invaluable things but one that sticks out is that they always had time for us even into adulthood. I am blessed to have my six boys and know when my time comes they will take very good care of me. What a wonderful story thanks for sharing.

  9. Lisa Beth W. says:

    That was very beautifully written, Connie. Thank you!

  10. What an excellent post! I loved the son taking care of his father!

  11. I nlove the thought of this 70ish man calling his father “daddy”

  12. OK…..crying. thank you. loved it

  13. I’m so glad you shared this Connie – it’s a precious thought to hold on to on this roller coaster called parenting! We are holding the hands of our children, but they are held far more securely by their Heavenly Father, and He has a good end in mind for them. A very good end indeed.

  14. Absolutely beautiful post, Connie! How perfectly God arranges our days and events to keep our perspective right! Thank you.

  15. Bunny Bradley says:

    Makes me think of my dad, who passed away at 98. He always had such Godly counsel and prayed for me each day. Thank you Daddy!

  16. I really enjoyed this post. I was imagining right along with you. Grateful.

  17. Thank you, Connie.
    I loved reading about the son caring for his father. So very precious.
    I, too, wonder what the future holds for my children. I’m especially mindful of what it will look like when I am old and how they will care for me when I change diapers, etc. (which makes me want to change their diapers that much faster in hopes they’ll be fast to change mine . . . I almost got a pinky swear from our littlest guy the other day).

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