We went to Mr. T’s for doughnuts this morning (our monthly treat).
Several times now we have sat next to a group of older men who seem to be regulars at Mr. T’s. They sit around a small table with their plaid button-up shirts and neatly combed white hair. As they slowly enjoy their coffee and doughnuts, they read each other articles from the paper, or a paragraph from a book they brought along.
Most of their conversations start like this; “Do you remember Linda’s nephew? The one who was in the Navy? I ran into him the other day and he said…”
They always stop and say hello to the boys; ask them if they are enjoying their doughnut holes. Today as the boys and I walked past them, one of the men said to the other, “Do you remember when our’s were that little? We didn’t know how lucky we were back then.” They all nodded and smiled as they watched the boys climb onto their chairs.
Is this our fate? To not really understand the value of a moment until it is long gone? Are time and distance the only way we gain perspective and appreciation? Are the good memories the only ones that last? I don’t know. But I do know, that in that moment, as I watched them look longingly at my sons’ chocolate covered grins, I understood that I was looking at a very precious moment.
So maybe being an old man when I grow up isn’t a reasonable goal. But I do hope that someday there is room at a small table in a doughnut shop, for a sentimental old woman.