Tuesday, January 8, 2008

New Year - New Approach

Less, More Often - My personal mantra for the new year. I've been doing some thinking about this, the blog part of the site, and decided that it's worth a try to write a little less but to do it more often. Actually, that's more along the lines of what a blog is supposed to be. Instead of working to post what I would call “finished” pieces or essays, I’m going to simply write tidbits here and there and simply … post them.

Come to think of it, less, more often is also my dietary goal. Portion control (laughing). My goal this year is to actually take home some food from a restaurant every now and then. I envy folks who can do that on a regular basis. This will be uncharted territory for me. Last year it was the Midwest. This year, it's the doggie bag.

So, on that note …. As Mr. Gleason used to love to say, “and away we go….”

* * * * * * * * * *

Man, It’s speeding Up - Back in, I think it was July, as I walked into the KCUR-FM studio, getting ready for my Walt Bodine Show interview, I met a very nice woman, Ruthanne, at the front desk. On the way out after the show was over, I bumped into Ruthanne and she asked if I’d be interested in coming to speak to her church Sunday school class at the start of the new year. I'm finding that I love doing that kind of thing so, of course, I said "Yes" right away. And I remember thinking, “January. That’s soooo far away. I mean, I don’t even have a 2008 appointment book yet."

Well ... January 6th rushed into place faster than any January 6th I can remember. It seemed like just yesterday I was standing in the KCUR lobby, Ruthanne asking me to speak at her church; Me, thinking about my lack of a 2008 appointment book.

A Meriwed Sunday - What a wonderful group of people. The Country Club United Methodist Church has several Sunday school classes, the Meriwed Seekers being one of them. Briefly, the group was originally formed many years ago by some newly married World War II veterans and their wives and it is this same core group that keeps things going, although newcomers are always welcome. They meet every Sunday, inviting guest speakers from both inside and outside the class, covering all kinds of subjects.

As it turns out, the church is about two minutes from my home, right around the corner. I drove over, parked, and as I walked into the church’s side entrance, Ruthanne’s husband met me as soon as I entered the building, right at the 9:15 designated time. After a cookie, cup of coffee and a short introduction by Ruthanne, I was up at the podium, microphone in place and the Eldercation program had begun.

As I said before, I enjoy doing this kind of thing and look forward to doing more of it down the road. My hope is that the 30-40 people sitting in front of me (all seniors, of course) enjoyed listening to what I had to say as much as I enjoyed saying it. After talking about the project for a few minutes, explaining why I’m doing what I’m doing, I spent some time putting out to the group a few of the questions I ask during a typical Eldercation visit. And that gets the ball rolling. It’s so much fun to listen to people’s answers but it's just as much fun to listen to and watch folks interacting with one another. That’s a nice twist to the one-on-one interview, reminding me of when I organized a series of focus groups at The Murray Hill Center a few years back. The group dynamic presents a completely different picture.

Normally, I’m able to put on about a 90 minute program but, after Ruthanne told me I had about 45 minutes or so, I knew I had to make some adjustments. It was a bit of a challenge but, in the end, it wasn't all that hard to do. As things wound down, I finished up by reading a few excerpts from past interviews and, since it was a Sunday morning and I was speaking with a church class, I figured it would be a good idea to focus on some religious, more spiritual issues. I can’t tell you what I joy it was to be able to stand up there, reading an excerpt from an Emma Foote interview. The more I find myself sharing Emma's words like that, the happier I get. The idea that I can put some of that woman's words and ideas out to the world like that … well … let’s just say it warms my heart and moistens my eyes. Of course, I called Emma on the drive home, (she’s turning 99 this March) .

“You’re famous!!” I told her. And she laughed ... and then laughed some more, the way only Emma can laugh. I refer to that laugh as a Deputy Dawg laugh, the way she ends each chuckle with a soft, sighing kind of “eewww.” I’m not sure that translates here, but perhaps you know what I mean.

1 comment:

Hollis Baker said...

Harry, I like the idea of more often, but I like the amount you use now. Pleased you had a great guest speaking encounter. Keep it up and perhaps you will become as famous as our beloved Emma Foote.


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