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A hope note

The older I get, the more I need some heroes who are older than I am ‘ old people who still dream, whose example calls to me, in Tennyson’s words: ‘Come, my friend, ’tis not too late to seek a newer world.’
One of my heroes now is 95-year-old Kozo Haraguchi of Japan. Earlier this year, in the rain, he set a new world speed record in the 95-to-100-year-old age category. He ran 100 meters in 22.04 seconds. What do I find hopeful about that? Haraguchi didn’t begin running competitively until he was 65. He thought at the time that it might help him stay healthy.
Then there’s Billy Graham. In the last 60 years, he has spoken to 210 million people in 185 countries. Last June, at age 86, despite stultifying afternoon heat, he spoke flawlessly for 23 minutes to a crowd of 90,000 in New York City. Now suffering from prostate cancer, Parkinson’s disease and hydrocephalus, and still healing from a broken hip and pelvis, when asked if this was the end of his career, Graham replied: ‘I never say never.’
Closer to home, there’s my mother. For 25 years she has led a brigade of volunteers who shampoo hair once a week at the local nursing home. She regularly listens to women ‘ sometimes 10 and 20 years her junior ‘ complain about how they don’t do much anymore because of their age.
Healing from heart surgery and several cancer surgeries herself, she smiles and says something encouraging to them. Then she finishes rinsing and drying their hair.
One other day a week she delivers Meals-On-Wheels.
Tennyson said it best: ‘Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’ we are not that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are: one equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.’