For our firm’s annual day of service to the community, I chose to volunteer at a local nursing home together with twenty colleagues and spent a very memorable Friday. Telling all the stories will make this piece too long, so stay tuned for later posts.
While we were sitting around with some residents waiting for the Jeopardy Wii game to start, I chatted with an elderly lady next to me. Her name is Ruth. Below is part of our conversation:
I: “How long have you lived here?”
Ruth leaned towards me and whispered: “I don’t want to count.”
I: “Do you like watching Jeopardy on TV?”
I: “Do you know that nowadays computers can play this and win?”
Ruth: “Humans will become useless.”
I: “Machines are getting smarter, like in those science fictions.”
Ruth: “We can always smash them.” Arms raised followed by a “smashing” motion.
We both laughed.
I: “Do you watch movies?”
Ruth: “No, I have my books.” Like magic she reached behind and pulled a paperback from her wheelchair – The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
I: “That’s great! I like reading books too!”
Ruth: “I don’t always remember what I read, so I can read the same book again and again.”
I smiled: “I am the same with movies.”
A staff came over and told me, “Ruth was a librarian for 44 years.”
I: “No wonder you read so much! Where?”
Ruth: “Library of Congress.”
I was awed immensely. The shock on my face made her very happy: “Yep, in all three buildings.”
The Jeopardy game started at this point, and Ruth was brilliant. She knew the answer to most of the questions. I was deeply humbled and really wished I had more time to talk to her. But she had a visitor and left the room. The next time I saw her was in the ‘volleyball’ game.
To be continued…