Tuesday, October 1, 2013

James Hasty

An elderly woman and an ever more elderly man sat down at the table.

They were hard to figure out.

The woman appeared to be around 70. The man had a hair piece on, and I was impressed with his real, yet worn and discolored teeth. He was wearing a sweater with a collared shirt underneath. He was handsome. Distinguished. Adorable.

It was a woman, and as she called him, her Daddy.

So I headed to the restroom, and I wept. I was jealous. Jealous of what will never be. I will never be sitting across from my father on his 94th birthday. Or any birthday. I had a rush of emotions....why? Why not? What if? I collected myself, and headed back out. The daughter was telling me how he lives alone, and he still drives....it took James Hasty a long time to eat his hamburger and French fries. In between bites he told me about when his wife died, and how long he was retired from the service. Each time I walked away I cried a little more.

 This man was seasoned. Historical. He was born in 1919. He was sweet and polite. I wanted to take him home. I wanted to replace what I had lost. I crept off into corners of the restaurant and cried throughout their visit. James Hasty and his daughter touched my soul that day.

How do I know his name? When I gathered people to sing to Mr. Hasty on his birthday, I asked him his name. His reply was "Hasty". I had a split second to think...."What a strange name?" and repeated it back to him. "Hasty?" He replied:

"Yes, Hasty. Mr. James Hasty." Just like they used to introduce themselves when he was a young man.

I feel privileged and honored to have met Mr. Hasty. An experience I will never forget.

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