Today I raise a glass to Naomi. She has been sitting in my section ever since I started at my restaurant almost seven years ago. In the beginning, I found it irritating that she would remove cushions from the front window seat and move it to where she was sitting so she could be more comfortable, but eventually I started doing that for her as soon as I saw her come into the restaurant. She died two weeks ago and I miss her.
These are some of the things Naomi taught me in the seven years I knew her.
- That age is just a number and if you have a good attitude and an easy smile, maybe you get to live longer than a lot of other people and not die until you are 87 years old.
- That you can ask for exactly what you want from a restaurant and as long as you come in all the time and are always nice and kind, the staff will be happy to cook you something off the menu.
- To appreciate everyone who works in a restaurant and to bring each staff member an envelope with their name on it and a tip inside at Christmas time, even if it’s a random amount like six or seven dollars because that’s all you can afford.
- That you can be 87 years old and still go to Mexico for two weeks even though you have cancer because you go to Mexico every year with your friends and you’re not gonna let a silly little thing like late stage lung cancer change your life.
- That I can grow to admire and respect a woman who is so much older than me and even consider her a friend and check up on her every now and then since she only lives two blocks from me.
- That it is possible to cross the street against traffic without even looking to see if cars are coming and you will get safely to the other side. (This might only work for Naomi.)
- That a hug from an 87-year old woman is a really great hug because they have been giving hugs for decades and practice obviously makes perfect.
- That if you take the time to talk to a senior citizen who lives alone and is maybe eager to talk, you can learn so many wonderful things.
- That complaining about your lot in life does no good and your only option is to decide how you want to live your daily life.
- That you never know when you’re going to see someone for the last time, so make sure every visit counts because saying goodbye to someone in a dream is not the same as saying goodbye to them in person.
Goodbye, Naomi. I’m glad I knew you.