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Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015

Gray Matters:There are always more that meets the eye

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I am sure you enjoyed Bob Reed's piece on the movies as much as I did. I really appreciated his filling in for me while I was off dealing with some health issues at the Mayo Clinic.

Things turned out pretty well, so now I'm slowly returning to normal. My kids might ask, "Mom, Normal?' But we won't go into that. Hmm!

As usual, I came home with some stories. These are from the Kahler Hotel where I stay because of its convenient location and the reasonable rates for their economy rooms.

Too, their staff members are most accommodating. I can always call on one of their helpful bellmen to escort me, by wheelchair, through the subway to my appointments in the nearby Mayo buildings.

The fellow helping me most often this time was quite a character. As he trundled me along he would keep an eye out for individuals or groups who looked the least bit lost or confused. Scarcely breaking stride, he would direct them on their way.

On those rides he kept up a line of chatter fit for a stand-up comedian. In our one serious conversation he told me that, being surrounded with so much suffering and discomfort, he just felt it was his duty to lighten things up whenever he could. Laughter is said to be therapeutic and he certainly did his part in providing therapy for everyone around.

Then there was an interesting situation in the hotel restaurant. They hire residents of an area facility for the mildly handicapped as bus persons. Many have been there a long while--all doing a great job of clearing tables, cleaning and re-setting them.

This time there was a new face. A diminutive young black woman, almost a midget, was greeting and seating guests with the cheeriest, most scintillating smile you'd ever encounter. I first took her to be one of the handicapped as she was seriously hunch-backed and walked with a marked limp. In time I realized

Hannah was somewhat older than I first thought and she was certainly not mentally challenged. Watching her inter-action with the other employees I wondered just what her position was. So I finally asked a waitress and was happy to learn that she is a native of Rochester, living there with her family.

In the short while she's worked at the Kahler she has become the supervisor of the wait staff. I think it is wonderful that a person so physically handicapped has been given this well-deserved opportunity.

Perhaps that's something that could only happen in that special environment, but in any case, it was nice to see.

I have seldom been there over a weekend, but this time I stayed to await some test results. During the week the restaurant patrons are mostly Clinic patients, many with wheelchairs, scooters, canes, walkers and oxygen tanks.

They are usually accompanied by anxious relatives or friends. But Saturday morning there was a remarkable transformation. The place was full of lithe, fit, active teen-agers with a few equally fit adults.

Again I inquired and learned that, in order to fill their facility on weekends, the Kahler seeks group clinics and seminars. Many adult organizations come, but they particularly like having religious, educational or athletic youth groups.

There were both swimming and girl's basketball events in town that day. This waitress told me how much they all appreciated that change of pace. The abundant youthful energy seems, in a way, to refresh them for the week that lies ahead.

I fully understood for I was invigorated just sitting watching those vibrant youngsters.

I hope I haven't bored you with these examples of the variety of things that are always going on around us if we just stop long enough to notice. In fact, I'm sure they may often be more interesting than our own personal pursuits if we are truly honest with ourselves.