Thursday, July 2, 2009
Thursday with Theodore
He sits at the corner of the bend of Carriage Way. Every morning and evening to wave at the passers by rushing to work or wherever the day requires. Just seeing him, makes me want to slow down.
The first time I drove by a couple of years ago, he waved at me wearing his red hat and I thought he was signaling me to slow down. But later I found out he was just waving.
Every time I see him sitting there, I tell my kids, I would like to stop and meet him but we are always going somewhere and need to be at a certain place at a certain time. And I tell myself I will do it another time. Two years have passed by at least.
The last two or three summers I drove by both in the morning and the evening while taking my kids to church camp, and there he was and I always look for him when I am close to that bend in the road and sometimes when he is not there I worry that something happened to him.
So, finally, last Thursday I was driving home from picking up my 6 year old Augustin at a birthday party and it is about 4 p.m. and I see him in his red hat waving and I say to Augustin my son, “should we stop and meet him?” and my 6 year old says yes.
So we do.
I introduce myself and he reaches out his hand to me and says, “I’m Theodore.”
I ask him his story.
Theodore is 86 and has sat outside his house daily for the past 3 years on his busy through street and he tells me that he waves at every single car that drives by and he does this in the morning when people are going to work every and in the evening he waves at every single car that drives by but in the summer if it is too hot he will not go outside.
When he first started this people thought he was trying to get them to slow down but he is only trying to say hi to people. When he is not out there, people stop at the door to ask him if he is okay and that they miss him.
When I told him that every time I have driven by and I have wanted to stop and talk to him but I have always been going somewhere or needed to be home for something, he said to me that most people are too busy to stop.
That affected me and that is why I needed to stop on this Thursday. I did not want to miss out on his story and seeing him make time for others and just being out there waving at passers-by and not worrying about to-do lists and schedules. He did not even have a book out there with him to read. He was just smiling at the people. In the moment.
Some other people have stopped to talk to him, they will park nearby or walk by and he asks them what their plans are for the day.
June is Theodore’s birthday month and he received 30-40 birthday cards from some of those "friends" he has made and they have given him bottles of wine and other gifts for his birthday. They found out about his birthday because he held a sign up that said "today is my birthday"- At first when he started doing this-waving at people-they thought he was trying to get them to slow down but he was not.
Theodore is a retired music teacher and a church choir member and leader and played the organ and when Augustin and I stopped to meet him, he started breaking out into song several different times and he told me jokes and stories. He told me about his family and his children and he asked me about my children and we talked about church and life and God and music and heaven and children. I asked him why he sits out here every day and he says he likes to wave at people and he is outgoing and he likes to meet people.
Meeting him made me want to go back every Thursday. To take the time out of my busy mom schedule, to listen and talk to Theodore who has lived 8 decades. To hear his wisdom and advice. Today I rode my bicycle by to see him after riding with my daughter to work in Oregon City.
I am thinking about taking the time to make every Thursday with Theodore.