August 9, 2012

My dad asked me at lunch yesterday, "Did you see the older man pushing his shopping cart on your way to work this morning?"

"Yeah, I did but he was sitting at the end of someone's driveway."

"Sheriff Hughes* stopped by the shop to chat and told me I'd see an old man pushing a shopping cart come by in a little bit but he said 'He's alright. I stopped and talked to him yesterday. He says he's a songwriter and on his way to Branson to try to sell his songs.'"

* Names changed.

Do you ever come across strangers and wonder about their life? I kept thinking a little about this man. He had to be in his 50's or 60's. He had a long, white beard, raggedy clothes and was pushing a shopping cart that contained food, water, and a backpack. There's no telling where he started or how long he'd been traveling. He said he was headed to Branson, MO which is a 4 hour drive from here. I'm sure he was homeless. I often wonder how people end up that way, how their lives were before, if they ever had money, lived comfortably, or if they were always poor. I wonder what his songs were about and if they were actually good.

Then there are your every day people you see at the grocery store. There's the elderly couple, walking down the bread aisle. As the woman is busy looking for which bread is on sale her husband takes a loaf and pats her on the butt with it. She turns around and laughs, "Shame on you, Fred!" And I can't help but smile. I like to imagine they met when she was 16 and he picked her up in his Ford Model B and as she was leaving the house her momma hollered, "You be careful, Ruby, and don't let that boy take you somewhere you don't want to go." And she said, "Yes ma'am. Love you momma" and climbed in the passenger seat, smoothing down her dress tail. They knew it was love after that first date and they've been together for 64 years now. They're still just as much in love as they were then, they attend church every Sunday and they'll probably die together too because God would never let a couple in love like that suffer without each other. It gives me hope that I'll find someone who will love me like that, forever.

Every now and then I'll remember the time when I was training to be a CNA. We had to "work" in a nursing home for a week as part of the training. One of my assigned residents was a man in his late 30s. I thought it was odd that someone so young would need to be in a nursing home. Once I met him I learned he had Parkinson's disease and it was pretty advanced. I had to shave his face, feed him sometimes because his hands would shake so badly, and help him get dressed. He would tell me stories about his life before he became sick. He was an aspiring actor living in Los Angeles and had landed some pretty good roles in major movies. He showed me photos of himself on set and with the other actors, one of them being Jack Nicholson. It was on the set of a movie of which he had landed a major role when he became diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. He said he kept fainting but thought it might be from exhaustion. After it started to interfere with the role, he was urged to see a doctor and from then on received his diagnosis. He removed himself from the role and moved back to Arkansas to live with a family member. His disease progressed a lot quicker than expected and his brother (the family member he was living with) said he didn't have time to give him the help he needed. He told me he had spent the last 4 years in various nursing homes trying to find one he liked and not one time had his family come to visit him at any of them. He had such a colorful past and a bright future ahead of him but it was taken away in just a matter of years.

Do you ever catch yourself wondering what a stranger's life might be like?


  1. Hi Kendra! Thank you so much for the comment! Love, love, love your blog!! Have a fantastic day! XOXO

  2. Your blog is so pretty, so pretty. So glad I came across it. Love this post as well, I always wonder what strangers are doing and how they got where they are. Everyone has a story. :)

    1. Thank you so much Kristal! I just checked out your blog - love it. And you are so pretty!


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