Older friends

Rod Pittman 2013

Almost ten years ago to the day, I met up with my then-81-year-old friend Rod at the community garden greenhouse we were bringing back to life when I noticed he wasn’t well (sharp pain and a drooping face, folks). I ended up calling 911 and he was rushed to the hospital. Perhaps I saved his life that day.

Rod Pittman 2019

A week later, he was back lifting, loading, and planting. Ten years later, he’s still doing those things. I saw him most recently at the 10th Anniversary founders party for the community garden, at which I asked him to cut the cake. A couple of years ago, I visited him weekly while he was recovering from hip replacement surgery and picked his brain as much as I could about his global experience as an organic grower. I wrote a series of blog posts about this but I still have pages and pages of notes I haven’t synthesized yet, so that’s on my 2020 list.

Rod and his wife recently moved to a senior home that I pass while Traveling at the Speed of Bike, but I have yet to stop by to visit. That needs to change.

Specifically because of my community gardening experience, I realize how lucky I’ve been to have a lot of friends who are older than I am. These are particularly cool people who came of age ten or fifteen years before me (with the exception of Rod who is now  91). This puts them squarely in the 1960s countercultural Hippie Generation, and they have much to teach us, especially at this critical time in history. I have never once forgotten that I stand on their shoulders, and as I will most likely next make a lot of younger friends as I head to the Peace Corps, I will carry and pass their wisdom forward.

If interested, see the rest of my decade-ending “look back” so far this week:

Bearing witness

Public plazas

Cargo bikes

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