When leaving after visiting a friend in a nursing home in Puyallup, I was drawn to their recreation room by the sound of an old song being played on the piano. Only two or three people were in the area, in their wheelchairs. On impulse, when the pianist, a resident, paused, I approached her and asked if she knew a song I thought was named “When I Grow Too Old to Dream.” I didn’t know then and don’t know now whether that is actually the name of the song, but fell in love with it when I first heard it played when I was 10 years old.
She smiled a beautiful smile and caressed the keyboard. As she played, my vision became blurred and I was totally focused on her music and movements. Then came a soft, melodious voice, from a nearby resident supplying the words. That indeed, was a wondrous addition. At the end of the song, I tried to thank the musician with words that wouldn’t come, but our touching of hands and meeting of eyes seemed sufficient.
Only when I turned to leave did I realize that the room and the hallway beyond had become full and overflowing. There were no dry eyes or sad faces.
I swam to the exit through a flood of gentle smiles afloat on a sea of happy tears. Gentle eyes and touching hands shared the moment all the way. It’s true that our views of yesterday, and even of today, can be altered by the shrouding veil of passing time but some things defy that passage of time.
As I approach my 80th birthday, one conviction is even more deeply imbedded within my soul and we should always remember: we never grow too old to dream.