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How old before you're TOO old?  

How old do you have to be before you're too old to encourage someone else?

I think I found the answer--in the "Bird Room."

That's what we call the meeting room at the nursing home where my mother-in-law lives. A large wood and Plexiglas display houses a dozen or so colorful little birds, fluttering from nest to branch and back again. So the "Bird Room" is an obvious choice for relaxing and visiting loved ones.

While we were there last time, a smiley chap named Bob reintroduced himself to my mother in law, who seemed to recall him. Bob had come on a mission: to strum on his guitar and accompany a singer who would entertain the residents.

The singer: Bob's 95 year old father.

Pops walked into the room sporting a full sized Stetson hat, a black leather jacket, cowboy boots and blue jeans. We shook hands and he sat down. I watched him fiddle with something in his pocket, finally producing a plastic lemon juice container. He popped off the lid and downed a shot of the juice explaining it got his voice ready to sing. “I'm almost one third of the way to 96," he told me.

We followed Pops and his son into the dining area where wheelchairs were being rolled in. And with that, the strummin' and singin' began. A smile on his face, Pops sang a country ballad, undistracted by the all the distractions in the room. The old man could sing, no doubt, yet his softer voice was at times lost to the ambience of the place.

A large flat panel TV played highlights from college football games, nursing assistants chatted, while against the wall, a shriveled woman, her mind lost in childhood, mumbled the same names over and over again.

To the huddled few who actually heard the old man's music it was a simple gift of encouragement from a 95 year old whose life appeared to be a testimony to the words of Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than receive.”

How old do you have to be before you're too old to encourage someone else?

Answer: at least 96.


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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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