Library Happenings

Henning School

Each week this summer we have been celebrating different national days in this column. Today we recognize that Aug. 21 is National Senior Citizens Day. I plan to take one of my senior citizen friends on an outing each day this week as a way to celebrate them.  

With many senior citizens being homebound, getting out can be such a spirit lifter. Going for a drive in the country and seeing all the crops and the cattle and smelling the summer air can stir up memories that can lead into stories of old. Since so many senior citizens are on fixed incomes, it can be nice to share the garden produce with them and even the canned goods that come from the harvest.  

My paternal grandmother was a huge influence on my life, encouraging me to respect people older than myself and to listen to the stories that they would tell because the lessons that came from these stories were priceless. I started my first full time summer job when I was 12, working at a restaurant each morning beginning at 6 a.m. Since I was a farm kid, it was easier for me to live in town with my grandmother that summer and walk to work each morning.  

The early morning crowd would be full of senior citizens getting their morning coffee, two eggs, sausage, and toast. I looked forward to hearing their stories and getting to be a part of their lives even for a few short months. 

One of the gentlemen’s names was Larry Parker.  Mr. Parker was a full blooded Native American who had very poor sight. This gentle man would come into the cafe and patiently wait as I learned how best to serve him. He had hands soft and worn and the best smile, with such a soothing voice. His stories changed my life and when I think of him, I catch my breath to try not to cry.  I learned the true meaning of the word respect that summer as I worked as a waitress.  

I hope you will find yourselves out enjoying time with our senior citizens here in Otter Tail County. We can learn so much from them. Enjoy your week and the beauty that is all around us.