Glenn and I had our annual lunch by the river this week, and to build suspense in advance, he alluded to (over the phone) “big news.”
Before getting to that, though, a reminder about Glenn. Over this past year, radio commentators have dubbed Glenn “The Pranking Dane,” and the “Scandinavian Joker,” while my students refer to him as “Glenn, the Sweetheart.” He is the one who served me strawberry shortcake on our first interview session, and then offered housing to my friend, a kindergarten teacher, who lived with him for 6 months (for free).
Over the years, I’ve followed Glenn to gym class, met him at various restaurants, had tea at his home, met members of his family, introduced him to my extended family, had him over for his birthday (same as my daughter’s), and emailed with him regularly.
Aging Our Way is now published, but Glenn still insists on taking me out to lunch to fill me in on his life every June, like we used to do. It is a sort of year-in-review session, not unlike like the year-end reports I have been writing since the semester ended. (Ugh.) But Glenn keeps his report very entertaining.
So there we were. And, like usual, Glenn brought lots of print-outs in a brown paper bag, to illustrate his year. That included:
1) Two 8 x 11 printed pics of his latest project – a small bunkhouse on his family’s land, still in process; he’s one of several coordinators of this ongoing project
2) A picture of his newest great-grandchild who stopped breathing on day 10 of life and then was brought back to life, magically (eanwhile, Glenn stayed up late many nights filling all family members in by phone and email until all was well again)
3) A printed out joke about an elderly man driving to a late-night alcohol support group,
4) A press release about a local student working on global HIV support whom he had put in touch with his son in Haiti, one of many “matches” Glenn makes on a regular basis
If anyone is in doubt about elders taking control of their lives, this report would help them to see the truth, at least in Glenn’s case.
After presenting these, Glenn then moved to the “big news” which involved housing a middle aged gay man for the summer, whom his pastor sent his way.
The backstory is this: Glenn made an offer long ago to his pastor that he’d be willing to take anyone in who needed free accommodations, after meeting with them. Glenn is a softie, and after meeting this guy, and privately admitting to his own prejudices, Glenn agreed to take him in for a few months. From what I can tell, this guy doesn’t have a caretaking bone in his body (he never offers to help with anything) but Glenn doesn’t seem too bothered by that. Glenn is more bothered that this man “is getting the short end of the stick by not being with women; since women are so wonderful.” Just another day in the life of a generous man and his latest boarder.
Glenn admitted to having less energy these days, but these changes weren’t evident to me. He still jokes about marrying again, reading the latest bestsellers, and getting together with his Tuesday morning Coffee Klatch group (all men) at the diner.
Yes, Glenn is still a sweetheart, and, I’m proud to say, a good friend. Thanks for lunch Glenn.