The People Around me


We are entertained weekly by young hearted muscians. The leader with a stringed instrument is 100 years old

The people around me are not all old!  Younger people attend to some of my needs. I am, after all, in assisted living. They are the ones who do my laundry, prepare up to two meals a day, dispose of my trash, provide transportation, and comfort me if I am distressed.

Last night I discovered that time had flown by quickly, and at 9:30 p.m. I had been locked out of Evergreen Place.  I have a special key to be used in that event, but I found that I didn’t know how to use it.  Relying on my I-phone I called Greencroft’s phone operator who summoned an attendant to open the door and teach me how to use my special resident key.

Jazz band on Sunday afternoon

Jazz band on Sunday afternoon

I am seated for meals with three men as table mates.  One is a Mennonite from Kalona, Iowa and he and I do Mennonite talk. I happened to know a Brenneman who was a pastor in Iowa. We learned that we both knew the pastor’s younger brother who took his family to Tampa. He was thrilled to know that I had helped baptize some of Gaylond’s children including Jim, president of Goshen College.

Also at our table is a German Baptist with a long white beard. When I said I like change, he exclaimed, “I don’t. I wish times were as they were 50 years ago.”   When the three of us discuss churches as we know them he is jovial, and full of good humor.


My Joy is getting ready to go to her family reunion in Milford, Nebraska. She is the eldest of her clan

From my table I can see in the corner of my eye a woman who helped me by informing me of some of the protocol of assisted living.  We sometimes banter back and forth.  She has just celebrated her 85th birthday.  Another woman looked at me closely and said, “You look familiar; I think I know you.”  Exchanging notes, she had wintered in the estates next to the Bahia Vista Mennonite Church in Sarasota when Rhoda worked in the church office and was responsible for relationships with the “snowbirds” in the estates and elsewhere.  My new friend worked as a volunteer under Rhoda’s supervision.

Most of us here are in our eighties or nineties so we have had plenty of time to have met somewhere in the past.



About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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2 Responses to The People Around me

  1. Myron Augsburger says:

    Thanks for the mailing, Martin, and enjoy the interchange with your partners. May God give you and each of us inner joy for these years. Myron

  2. Sam Troyer says:

    Great sharing brother Martin. I recall the first time we talked, I’d met with the search committee of Bay Shore. I think the one question that kind of derailed me was when I was asked what I’d do if a homosexual wanted to join our church. I don’t recall my answer, but why should it be different than for anyone else who is looking to Christ for salvation and walking repentantly toward Him and the Church.
    Thanks also for sharing about how helpful assisted living is. I became sold on the value of a good retirement community when I served as a Chaplain at Menno Haven for seven and a half years. I praise God that you’ve found a good friend in your Joy as you call her. God’s Shalom – Sam

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