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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Learning for Life (08/23/04)

TITLE: Learning for Life - a tribute
By Karen Treharne
08/24/04

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Our professor introduced himself and then challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. Bill looked around and when a gentle hand touched his arm, he turned to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at him with a smile that lit up her face like a spot light. She said, "Hi handsome, my name is Gladys. I'm eighty-three years old, and I'd love to give you a hug".

Bill laughed and enthusiastically responded, "I'd like that just fine." They both stood up and with Bill bending down to her level, she gave him a giant squeeze which he returned.

"Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age? he asked as they took their seats again.

She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married and have a couple of kids".

"No. Seriously." Bill didn't want to seem rude but he was curious.

"Well...I've always dreamed of getting a college education, and God finally answered my prayers."

After class they walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake becoming instant friends, and every day for the next few months they would leave class together and talk nonstop. Bill was always mesmerized as he listened to this "time machine" share her wisdom experience, and her love for the Lord.

At the end of the semester, Gladys was invited to speak at the football banquet. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. All at once her prepared speech slipped out of her hand and the three by five cards were strewn over the stage floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed, she leaned into the microphone and simply said, "Since I'll never get my speech back in order, let me just tell you what I can remember."

Good-natured laughter filled the room as she cleared her throat and began. "There are four secrets to staying young, being happy and achieving success. First, you have to laugh every day; second, you have to have a dream. Third, always find the opportunity in change, and fourth...have no regrets." The remainder of her talk was based on these principles. At the end she said, "We don't stop playing because we're old. We grow old because we stop playing."

At the year's end, Gladys received her college degree. One week after graduation, she died peacefully in her sleep. Over the four years, Gladys had become a campus icon and over two thousand college students and faculty attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example. Gladys lived up to her words. She had a marvelous sense of humor, a lifetime dream, and she passed into her Father's arms without any regrets.


Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Lee Schab 08/30/04
Bravo! What an awesome inspiration to live our lives to the fullest!
A wonderful piece, completely on topic!
Blessings, Lynda
Al Boyce08/30/04
Good lesson and told effectively. Thanks
L.M. Lee08/31/04
what a terrific lady!
darlene hight08/31/04
Beautiful Story and lovely tribute.
Phyllis Inniss 09/01/04
Great story and a beautiful tribute to a wonderful person. I hope I can follow her example. Blessings.
Kenny Paul Clarkson09/03/04
Well written.

I think "have no regrets" is the most challenging.