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Friday, June 10, 2016

Oh The People You Meet--When You Ride On A Bus, Or Walk Down The Street!

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Today is your day. 
You're off to Great Places! 
You're off and away! 

You have brains in your head. 
You have feet in your shoes 
You can steer yourself 
any direction you choose. 
You're on your own. And you know what you know. 
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go. 
- from Dr. Seuss's Oh, The Places You'll Go!

Occasionally I take the Harrisonburg city bus from Harmony Square to Court Square for my commute to work. The fare for seniors is only 50 cents a ride, and while it takes me some 15 minutes extra to get to my office, I enjoy taking public transportation when I can. Route 5, with interesting stops at places like EMU, Red Front, Roses, Gift and Thrift, Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community and Friendship Industries, is often underutilized, and welcomes passengers. 

One day last week I reflected on all the good people I wouldn't have gotten to be with had I taken my trusty '96 Nissan pickup to work. One of these good folks was a fellow senior citizen who told me she had recently moved to VMRC from Washington, DC.  She loved her new neighbors, she said, and felt at home among people who were only recently total strangers. We had a delightful conversation, as total strangers ourselves, though I failed to get her name. But it didn't matter. For those moments we were simply like good neighbors who had known each other for a long time.

On my walk from Main Street to my Newman Avenue office I ran into Kirk Saunders, someone I had supervised as a counselor in residence at Gemeinschaft Home a couple of years ago. He walked with me to the little pocket park across from the Massanutten Regional Library, and we sat down for twenty minutes of quality time reconnecting with each other, 

On my later walk from a noon meeting at the Dean House on Old South High Street, I ran across the young adult grandson of my late adopted sister, someone I had wanted to get back in touch with for some time and had been unable to contact. We talked for a couple of blocks together and I invited him to meet with me for lunch at a later time.

On my bus ride home, one of my seat mates was Richard Ritchie, an energetic young employee on his way home from Friendship Industries. When I told him my name, he exclaimed, "My mother knows you! You were her teacher at Eastern Mennonite High School!" And indeed I was able to confirm that Jewel had been a student of mine many years ago. I also learned all about his home, his work and about his grandfather, who had adopted Jewel and made it possible for her to attend EMHS.

When we both got off at Harmony Square Shopping Center, just two blocks from our house, he wanted to introduce me to his father, who was waiting to give him his ride home. Yet another nice person I wouldn't have had the pleasure of meeting had I taken my vehicle downtown that day.

Oh the good people you meet--when you take a little extra time to walk, or to ride the Route 5 bus!
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