Yesterday, I was performing one of my regular errands when I met a new hero. I was standing at the counter of my neighborhood pharmacy picking up some prescriptions when a gent walked in on a similar task. Eighty if he was a day. Perhaps eighty-five. Big sun glasses rather typical for the fellow's age in Florida. I think the government hands them out once you mark a certain number of birthdays. Moving with the deliberate yet unencumbered gait required by lower joints that won't respond to commands in the manner expected from decades of experience.
There, at this little pharmacy in an out of the way town, the man was dressed to the nines. Straw hat with madras band. Pale blue pin-cord suit. White dress shirt. Yellow bow tie. White buck shoes. I almost applauded as he walked in.
As he slowly conducted his business with the counter clerk, I tried to imagine what his life had been about. What his days were currently like. I wondered how old his crisp outfit might be. Finally, as he turned to leave, I introduced myself and said I thought he looked just great. He grinned, saying "Oh, this outfit is just something I threw on to go to the pharmacy." Then he made his way carefully from the room.
When I related this event to my son, the Future Rock Star, he said
"That guy is a hero to us, Dad. Because he never let his age take his youth away."
Precisely. Your youth can't be taken. You can only give it away. My new hero may have only been able to accomplish the one task yesterday of a trip down the street to the pharmacy. But he did that task as well as it could be done. An example to us all.
I hope I see him there again sometime. I want to ask him to lunch. Or to happy hour.