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Kim Vawter

Note 6 Progress and Patience

March 13, 2008 at 3:27 AM

"I can tell you are making progress."
A casual comment from a friend who was fixing a sandwich, Unsolicited and unexpected.
Today an unremarkable event occurred at Walgreens. i was in a hurry to get to the check out and an elderly woman with a walker was picking her way carefully over the snow mats on the floor. I had plenty of time to get to my violin lesson but still I was impatient. I wanted to get some medical items in the mail to my son overseas and here was this tiny little delicate woman on a snail race.
As my anger bubbled up, I stopped myself and tried to watch her.
She was carefully moving forward with much determination. I noticed she was slender, well dressed and rather a pretty little thing. I knew I just had to wait since couldn't get around her.
I felt that I had to say something nice to pass the time.
"You are certainly making good progress with that walker." The woman stopped and turned to me and smiled, "Yes, thank you for noticing. This isn't as easy as it looks.' She went on to explain the set of skills that she had to master to make the walker work. How she could tip over if she leaned too far forward and how she had to learn how to adjust her hand and do exercises with her arms to keep it going, where to balance her purse, where to put the packages in her tray.
I told her that I knew an 88 year old that was in a big hurry and wasn't doing as well as she was.
"Teen ager." Tell her she is a teen-ager 'cause I am 90 and anyone younger than me is just that. The last thing she told me as she thrust her index finger into the air was to be patient.
"Be patient with old people."
My lesson violin lesson today was redundant. I had already gotten my lecture in Walgreens on slow progress, patience and especially to be patient with "old people."

From Jim W. Miller
Posted on March 13, 2008 at 6:32 AM
Not to sound maudlin, but you never know if somebody like that knows they have a month to live, or some slow old couple is spending the last day together before one goes off to the nursing home. Don't mess it up.

On the other hand, I saw a 100 year old man give a kid hell at a gas station. The nozzle didn't shut off after his tank was full and he didn't notice. Gas was going everywhere. He went inside and refused to pay for overflowed gas in no uncertain terms. I would have driven off and when the cop took me back demand $100 not to sue them for triggering my pacemaker. Either that or light a match to get a closer look.

From Pauline Lerner
Posted on March 13, 2008 at 7:09 AM
That's a beautiful story. Thanks for posting it.
From P. Brabant
Posted on March 13, 2008 at 11:27 AM
Nice story and it is so true that with violin we have to be sooooooooooooooo patient. Sometimes I feel I will never make a note sound good, but patience will bring be there.... one day!
From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on March 13, 2008 at 1:26 PM
We have a 90-year-old violin player in our community orchestra. She started with the orchestra in her teens and was the concertmaster for many years when she was younger. She is really amazing. She sits by herself so she can sit very close to the stand to see the music, but otherwise she doesn't "need" people to be extra-patient with her, because she's able to keep up just fine.

But I think that all of us, not just "old people" benefit from patience. It's important to be reminded of that every now and then.

From Bernadette Hawes
Posted on March 14, 2008 at 12:04 PM
That's beautifully written Kim, takes one right back there. Amazing what you notice when you slow down for a moment in this world where it's the norm to rush ahead usually trampling everyone else underfoot.
And it just shows that older people can be a treasure trove of knowledge and wisdom, which is why traditional cultures treated them with utmost respect. It's worth remembering too, that there are those who cannot do what we do as quickly and efficiently, not only due to age but disability and just be thankful that we can.

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