Mr. Leo

A couple of years ago, while I was waiting my turn at Stefano’s Barber Shop in Providence, Rhode Island, I struck up a conversation with Mr. Leo (Age 92). It was quite obvious that Mr. Leo was visiting the barber for reasons other than hair removal. He was quite talkative, both in the waiting area and after he climbed into the barber’s chair to get his one or two remaining hairs trimmed. As Stefano’s son, Nunzio, feigned haircutting, Mr. Leo kept Stefano and me entertained with some very simple wisdom. I wrote some of it down as soon as I returned home.

Always go to the same barber, even if you don’t have any hair.

Living at the Senior Home isn’t so bad, there’s people there.

Don’t make a big deal over little things.

Take a walk…every day.

When you see somebody doing something interesting, stop and talk.

If you can’t get there on your own, get somebody to drive you.

It’s a good thing to see your shadow. It means you’re still alive.

My wife is always with her friends. I like to keep my own company. Guess that means I love myself best.

The older I get, the more simple it all becomes.

There is something very beautiful about such simplicity, especially when it is rooted in wisdom acquired over 90+ years of living. I suggest that, instead of putting our elders out to pasture, it might be a good idea to listen to them much more than we do. As Mr. Leo suggested, when our elders say “something interesting, stop and talk.”

Let me put a period on this post by sharing some wisdom from an ancient elder: “If we love one another, God lives in us.” To which I would add: When God lives in us, God lives in our world. It can’t get “more simple” than that, can it? 

John E. Holt, Cotuit, Massachusetts

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