On the side of his house is a very large sign,
painted in rough and earthy print it reads, “Let me live in my house by
the side of the road and be a friend to man,”Sir Oliver Wendell Holmes
I was soon to discover why he
had these words scrawled upon the place he called home, because these are the
words he lives by.

Vernon, an 88 year old
Montanan we met earlier today, outside of a grocery store in Malta. Rena had
struck up a conversation with him and I shook his hand before he headed off –
little did I know what was later in store.

As we headed for Saco there
were many hills – I was growing weary, it was getting late and I hadn't expected
so many grades; I was sore as I rolled into Saco and spotting a rest stop
converted from an old house I pulled in, took off my helmet; Rena called from
across the street and I called back, “I'm laying down!” I was bushed.

Lying on a picnic table bench
ready to close my eyes and drift off – who should pull in but ol Vernon the man
we met in Malta. Tired, depleted, desperately needing to close my eyes and rest,
Vernon plopped down on the same bench I was laying upon and began to talk.

 He had stories too!
Stories from childhood, stories from the wars he'd lived through and served in,
stories from the history of the region, stories about the weather, about
tragedies, about heartwarming experiences – Vernon is a storyteller.

I knew it would be rude to
close my eyes so I held myself in check and listened – and as I listened I began
to realize the intrinsic dearness and wonder of this man – how much he'd lived
through, how much he's faced and assimilated in life and how full of life and
enthusiasm he still is –yes, I fell in love with Vernon.

He asked me if I'd seen the
Holmes quote painted on his house as I rolled into town –that's when I realized
the curious sign was his.

He then asked us if we liked
corn and we answered affirmatively and off he went to cook us some corn. 

We, Rena and I, promptly
embarked on a search for wifi, settling into our prospective regions for
outreach.

Rena was at a restaurant up
the road while I was puttering about with my things and here came Vernon,
emerging from his truck holding bags filled with goodies – fresh, hot corn,
butter, shrimp, soy milk, chocolate mix, cheese, whole grain bread and chocolate
chip cookies – what a charmer! 

Rena joined us for the fresh
corn and excused herself to return to her work so - there I was with Vernon and
what a time it was – I felt nurtured in a manner which I've not yet felt on trek
-  a grandfather had come to fill in some of the gaps, offer some food, tell
some stories, bring some love and humor into the close of my long day.

At some point he paused and
looked at me saying something like, “That 9/11 was a helluva thing...” We both
knew and I gathered that while he may not have fully fathomed the cause of our
mission he recognized it's intrinsic value and chose to serve accordingly – as a
friend.

Shortly thereafter a man
drove by and Vernon called out, “Hey!” with a whistle –turning around the man,
Mark, circled back to us and joined our humble feast. I gave him a dvd and we
talked about 9/11 and the message of the experts  - this was new to him but he
listened attentively. By the time he rose to continue on his way he waved the
dvd in the air and said, “I'll watch it!” Off he went.

Vernon and I finished off our
simple meal and dove into dessert, mixing a homemade brew of chocolate and soy
milk, passing things back and forth, sharing stories. Vernon gave me something
I'll be able to hold dear the remainder of my life –  he became the living
embodiment of the words painted on the side of his home and through the many
trials of his long life had grown to become – a friend to all.

Lee
8/22/2012 09:52:33 am

I am following your blogs as best as I can. I wanted to let you know I bought one of your T-shirts and a video so I hope I helped you out a bit. I can't wait to wear the shirt and see what people think. I love a good debate.

Reply
Pamela Senzee
9/2/2012 12:37:31 pm

Thanks Lee!!

Reply
8/22/2012 12:13:34 pm

What a great ride! Cheers to the Vernons of the world and to you two champions of truth.

Reply
Pamela Senzee
9/2/2012 12:38:23 pm

Cheers back at ya Eric!

Reply
Dan
8/24/2012 05:33:21 am

Thanks for this wonderfull story and the great eample of courage and strength! I so look forward to hearing about this great adventure you are co-creating. :)

Reply
Pamela Senzee
9/2/2012 12:38:53 pm

Thanks Dan!!

Reply
Phil B.
8/25/2012 11:23:25 am

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful (!) And thank you Mr. Vernon!

Reply
Pamela Senzee
9/2/2012 12:39:55 pm

Bless you Phil - thanks!

Reply
8/25/2012 07:27:19 pm

I wanna have dinner with Vernon!

Reply
Pamela Senzee
9/2/2012 12:40:22 pm

:-) !!

Reply
8/26/2012 10:11:37 am

AWESOME account Pam!!! Thanks so much, and now I am extremely jealous! Congratulations :-)

Reply
Pamela Senzee
9/2/2012 12:40:58 pm

Hugs Mike!

Reply
Tim S.
9/1/2012 06:10:38 am

Chocolate and soy milk! Great nutrition, ha ha. Glad to hear you're making connections out there.

Reply
Pamela Senzee
9/2/2012 12:41:39 pm

Love ya Tim - thanks! :-)

Reply



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