Sunday, October 07, 2018
October is a month for loading vans and trucks with banners, collapsible tables, brochures and pamphlets, giveaways, game boards, bottled water, and small plants.
I meet up at the museum or the historic grounds with other gray beards and we pretend we can assist others with plant plans, ideas, problems, identification, and ecology and climate issues. We are right maybe 75% of the time and also give them referrals that are more authentic for accuracy. It is something old people do to help ease their retirement days and pretend they are not becoming useless.
One of the men and his wife are recently divorced and they do not come together as a unit but move as very separate entities on opposite sides of the booth and talk to different people at different times. She is what some would say is a challenge. She has hearing issues but would also have an "in your face" personality even if she was not hard of hearing. He is a master at building and repairing and talking about his many projects. He also has an excellent grasp of soil and ecology even though he has no scientific background...he was a mechanic in the Navy for years. This year they have moved into separate homes and she clearly has a need for conversation.
Another man, a handsome, neat as a pin in his mid 70's comes early and assists in a quiet but accurate fashion. Late in the day a nurse wheels in his wife who is in a wheelchair after a severe stroke more than a year ago. He was angry and hard to work with for many months, yelling if you moved a brochure or adjusted a display. Now he has come back to earth and adjusted to the pain in his life. His wife, a delicate lovely lady, looks bright-eyed and interested, even though she does not talk. As I watch them in loving touching, I know they were a really beautiful couple in their wedding photos.
The Matriarch of our group who knows thousands of scientific names of plants has limited patience with those of us who keep using common names. Her husband passed just a little more than a year ago. They were sailing mates around the world for many years and he was a famous physicist. She also was angry and impatient for a while after his death. She still has little patience for our stupidity but smiles more these days.
The Girl Scout of this particular event (and many others) is a decade younger than most of us and keeps us organized. She belongs to several volunteer groups and seems to know many people who come by. She lost her husband a few years ago to Alzheimer's and I think (in her 60's) she is lonely. We, the old timers, were hoping for a matchmaking event with another naturalist in the community, but that was not meant to be.
I smile as I write this because I wonder how these folks above would describe me...and my husband...and our presence in this group. Do you sometimes wonder how other people see you?... Or do you not care? Or do you think you know?