What he was now, is what no one could agree with.
Frank was one of my regular patients, and in his quiet way, he challenged me.
He was formidably intelligent, you see.
When you said something using less than perfect grammar.
Something that should be perfectly obvious to everyone, including yourself, or made an observation Frank judged lacking.
He let you know; but it was worth the knowing.
Frank had, in his youth, been something of a celebrity.
A soccer player, as we in the States would call it.
Quite good at football, as he put it, and you could tell he had been.
Frank was still in great shape.
Impressive cords of muscle could be found on his small frame.
He also happened to be a whiz at the stock market.
Woe to anyone who changed the television channel from the latest Wall Street Report.
He could discuss market shares, strategy, and bull markets for hours.
More than once, I sat, fascinated, as he shared his knowledge with me.
I hadn’t any money of course.
But had I…
I would have invested heavily in whatever he advised.
It was a privilege to have Frank talk to you.
Not everyone saw it this way.
I can see why.
Frank could be moody, and when he was having an off day he didn’t judge anyone worth the effort it took to throw wisdom their way.
Which is why I listened, of course.
Wisdom is there for the gathering, if only you take the time and effort to look for it, to listen to it, and if and when and if you do find it, learn from.
Frank had more wisdom than most.
He was more than willing to share, if you just showed a little common sense.
He wasn’t an easy man to deal with-but then how much wisdom do easy, laid back men accrue?
Frank had worked hard for his living and earned the comforts that surrounded him in his twilight years.
Not that he put it that way; it would be uncouth.
Oh yes, Frank increased the manners quotient of anyone around him by a factor of ten, or more.
Merely being around his vaguely aristocratic presence made one stand a little straighter, talk a little softer, and handle things with more care.
You might assume that a man who had played with verve and determination on the soccer field.
A man with a mind full of figures and statistics.
Would be more rough, calloused with experience; lacking a care for delicate things.
Which proves that appearances are deceiving, does it not?
Frank appeared on some levels to be what he was.
But other traits; other facets, only appeared once you took a closer look.
Even imperfect diamonds are beautiful, once you learn to accept their flaws.
We are all imperfect, but there are many diamonds to be found among us.
Frank had very few imperfections, to my eyes.
But we all have our own definitions of perfection.
I don’t mind a hot temper, as long as reason stands behind it.
I don’t mind stubbornness, so long as it is not hurtful to the one who possesses it, or applied towards anyone in their presence.
I don’t mind learning, so long as it’s from someone worthy of being a teacher.
I need improvement.
Every single day, I need to change, grow, and evolve.
Into something better.
I am far from perfect, yet always striving for perfection.
It never bothered me that Frank did not have this attitude; Frank was fine and content with himself.
In my personal opinion, he had every right to be.
He had accomplished much in his life, and earned the confidence he possessed.
I was young and knew I had to earn it.
Frank let me know as much; his wisdom would help me see more clearly than perhaps others would, he said.
But only if I used the eyes God gave me, and, even with eyes wide open there are some things you won’t understand.
Experience is, in some cases, the best teacher, he told me.
When I had a spare moment…and when Frank was in a good mood.
You could often find me spending time listening to him.
My colleagues commented on this often; they could not see what I could possibly learn from him.
We were too different to really get along, they said.
I disagreed mightily.
Our differences should be celebrated; they possess a unique quality that can be learned from, if you possess an open mind.
All too often we believe older generations have nothing to give us.
Some misguided morons believe the elderly just take.
All to often they forget that first, they gave.
A few of us remember this, recalling that were it not for their sacrifices, we would not enjoy the life we do today.
Few of us take time to remember that the elderly are people; but for those who remember, who take the time to seek, to listen and learn.
We see clearly.
Not as my colleagues see Frank, now.
I see the spirit, the wisdom, the vitality.
All they see is my wasted effort.
Because while I sit, listen, and learn.
I wait fifteen minutes for one barely audible sentence.
Frank has Parkinson’s Disease.
It has affected not only the movement of his body.
But also the movement of his tongue.
I say to these colleagues who believe I’m wasting my time waiting for the gems of wisdom Frank imparts to me that there are none so blind as those that will not see.
I watch indifferent eyes skim over Frank on a daily basis; seeing only an old man, and then dismissing him from further thought.
This is a extremely fortunate reaction by them; because Frank’s mind has never stopped.
While his tongue might not move as fast as it once did…
It still cuts the same.