My new friend Paul

24 Oct

Yesterday morning was a beautiful day.  We live super close to a park so I decided to go explore.  I jogged down the street to the entrance of the park and stopped to look at the park map to see where and how far the path went.  This is where I met my new friend Paul. 

As I was peering at the map, an older man of about 70 comes over and asks me if I have walked the path before.  I replied no, and he immediately says, “Walk with me!”.  I could not turn down his eager smile, and he seemed harmless enough, so I said I would.  He reminded me of the old man from the Pixar short movies, but with far less of a big nose.

He was quite the chatter box!  For 2 miles we walked and chatted and told me his life story.  He started out by telling me he is in remission from prostate cancer and comes to walk the path every day.  He even told me a few things that my dad would say is “TMI” but he told me when you have something so personal and uncomfortable happen to you, you just have to laugh about it!  For example, the one time his nurse couldn’t get the catheder in, she called for back up and 4 nurses were crowded around him trying to help.  He cried out, “It’s been many years since I’ve had this many women around me naked!”.  Also, he’s in competition right now with his baby grandson for who can get out of diapers first.  He said his grandson was winning.

Paul also told me he spent 30 years in the Air Force, Civil Services.  He lived in many states and countries including Montana, Japan, Germany, California and even a year in Illinois in Glen Ellyn.  His wife is Portuguese and gets confused for Mexican when they go out in San Antonio.  His son-in-law is Japanese so he has a “beautiful mixed-heritage grandson”.  He said hello to every person we passed and asked how they were doing.  I probably would have just nodded at them and continued to listen to my music.

He now teaches psychology part time at a local, small university in town so we talked a lot about Mizzou and was fascinated by my previous work advertising with the ROTC. 

It’s amazing how you never know who you are going to meet!  I hope to run into Paul again soon.  It’s people like him who have such a positive outlook on life that really make you thankful and grateful for what you have.

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