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The Story of Rose

The Way I See It

October 21, 2012
By John Sheda , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

I'm not sure how many readers know this, but my parents had three wonderful, yet average children and one terrific, exceptional child who will be celebrating his 61st birthday this Sunday. Now sixty-one may not be old to some of you but it's certainly not middle age either. Well as birthday #61 approaches, I came across this beautiful story of Rose. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

In a certain midwestern college, a professor of a class challenged each of his students to get to know someone they didn't already know. This one young man stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched his shoulder. He turned around to see a wrinkled, little old lady beaming with a smile that lit up the room. She said, "Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm 87 years old. Can I give you a hug?" He laughed, yet enthusiastically said, "Sure," and Rose have him a giant squeeze. He asked teasingly, "What are you doing here at such a sweet, tender age?"

She responded in like fashion, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, have a couple of children, and then retire and travel."

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The young man looked at here and Rose could tell that he didn't really know what to say or how to respond to her at all. So she continued on, "No, really, I've always dreamed of getting a college education and now I'm doing it." After class the two of them walked together to the student union building and shared a malted milk shake. They became instant friends and every day for the next three months, they would attend class together. She literally was a "time machine" to this young student as she shared her wisdom, experience and stories with him. Other students became friends with her as well.

And over the course of the year, Rose became somewhat of an icon on the campus. She made friends everywhere she went and loved all of the attention she received from both students and professors. In fact, she reveled in it all. She was such a energetic, happy lady.

In the spring, Rose was nominated to speak at the graduation ceremony. Those in attendance never forgot her powerful words. She was introduced and while stepping to the podium, she nervously dropped her three by five note cards on the floor. Amazingly, Rose recovered quickly and responded, "I'm sorry. I'm so nervous since I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me. I'll never get my speech back in the right order so let me just tell you what I know."

As everyone laughed, she cleared her throat and began, "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we just grow old because we stop playing. There are just four secrets to staying young, being happy and achieving success. You have to laugh, laugh hard and find humor every single day. You've always got to have a dream. When you stop dreaming, you slowly begin to die. There are so many people, young and old, who are walking around dead and don't even know it. There is a huge difference between growing old and growing up. A year from today each one of us will be a year older. Doesn't take any talent in growing older. It's what you do in that year that counts. Have no regrets. I have found that those my age don't have many regrets for what we did, but rather for the things we didn't do. The only people who really fear death are those with regrets." Rose spoke for over twenty minutes, sharing her wit, wisdom and knowledge with everyone in the room.

This wonderful lady concluded her speech by standing in front of us and courageously singing "The Rose." She challenged each one of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives. Rose finished her college degree the next year and upon graduation, she died peacefully in her sleep one week later. Over 2000 college students, professors and friends attended her funeral in tribute to this wonderful woman who taught by example "that it's never too late to live life to the fullest."

That's The Way I See It. Let me know what you think at jsheda@indytel.com or call me at 319-334-4117.

Do it before you forget!!! Be a blessing to someone this week.

 
 

 

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