Lunch at the Senior Center

Today I accompanied Diane to the St. Helens Senior Center for lunch. Today was the day that some ladies from our humble little Bethany Lutheran Church served. They do this once a month. Today it was Diane, Jeannie, Sue, & Barb. There were other helpers, too, and I’ve been known to pitch in once in a while, myself. However, today Diane gave me $5 so I could just sign in and eat. I figured that was a sign I should stay out of their way. So I did. All the ladies working there were all excited about the ‘new’ car and wanted to see it. But, we didn’t drive it to the center. They were very disappointed and shunned us for a short period of time.

I sat down across from my friend, Richard, who knows the Bible probably better than the people who reportedly wrote it in the versions we see today. Richard conducts Bible study at our church every Sunday morning and his excitement and enthusiasm about sharing his knowledge is infectious. He’s an amazing man and I was blessed to have wound up across from him for lunch. In addition to having a terrific lunch, I received an education from a special person.

To my left sat Derek Anderson’s Grandpa. He lives just down the block, and around the corner from Diane’s Mom, Jean. Derek is a small town success story from Scappoose, where I grew up – long before Derek was around. He was a childhood friend and classmate of Sarah Jean Underwood who is also from Scappoose. She’s another success story of the kind boys in my classes dreamed about but never knew. Now that I’m older and wiser now I can honestly say I don’t feel that such an omission from my past was a loss. My classmates were all great, in all grades, except the ones who picked on me because I was small for my age. Yes, I was bullied. Quite a lot, actually, but, you know what, I didn’t realize it at the time. Bullies were an accepted aspect of growing up in the 50’s that served up character-building moments. I learned to deal with it by injecting humor into tense moments and that has served me well. I’ve done OK. Of the notable folks who bullied me, one became my best friend throughout high school, one went on to become a PhD kind of guy who has this absolutely awful limp-fish handshake that gives me the creeps, and I out-lived the rest of them. No, I had nothing to do with their demise. They just kinda withered away on their own.

So, it was a good lunch, and I lied about the girls shunning us. They’re great friends and were just disappointed they wouldn’t get to see it. Funny how little cars like that get folks excited.

After lunch I passed through the kitchen with Diane as she made her way out and she stopped to talk a lady who looked familiar. She knew Diane and she knew me. Diane was perplexed that this stranger knew who she was so asked for her name. I beat this stranger to the punch as her name passed clearly through the very small portion of my brain that provides me with information that I can confidently rely on as accurate. It’s like a flash of clarity that splashes answers on the inside of my forehead where it’s easier to read. “Kerry Kennedy!” I blurted, knowing I was right. Giving a slight nod, indicating I was correct, she added that she used to be Kennedy but is now Kelly. With this knowledge I surmised that she didn’t have to change any of the monograms on any of her linen because KK doesn’t care what the second K stands for. I don’t really think she had that thought in mind when selecting a husband, but it worked out OK for the linen.

Kerry and I were school classmates for all of my school years in Scappoose. Sadly, since I left Scappoose not long after graduating from high school, and remained gone for most of 27 years in the Navy, I missed the part where my classmates grew older with me. In my head, I’m the only one who got older. The result is that I just don’t recognize most of them when our paths crossed. I was so happy that I recognized Kerry and made this one small connection to my childhood.

I was also humbled to learn that Kerry reads my posts. When someone tells me this, I’m always amazed. I’ve said that before, and it’s always true. It’s a humbling experience for me to discover that someone other than family reads this stuff, and you are all over the map

So, to all of you who choose to bless me by spending your valuable time reading this, Thank You. It makes an old guy pretty happy. I still don’t know why strangers spend their time with me, but I’m at the point in my life where I’m finding that I know really need to know. I’ll just appreciate that folks find what I write interesting even though I tend to fib a little once in a while.

Now it’s time for bed. Diane said so.


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