Just One More Thing

In 1997, the pastor of our parish asked if I would assist a fellow parishioner named Walt to purchase a computer and learn how to use it.

When I greeted Walt, I recognized him immediately. The previous summer I took a portrait of him with his wife, Ruth. Ruth had Alzheimer’s and wasn’t too keen on me positioning her for the photo. Walt began speaking to her softly, “Now, Ruthy, it’s okay, she is going to take our picture.” She caught his eyes and was immediately calmed. Her eyes danced in the photo. It was obvious to me, there was something special about this man.

With this we began our journey.

Walt had a dairy ranch, much of his computer lessons involved teaching him to enter data on his heard, run reports, etc. Walt is bright and eager to learn new things, so he caught on quickly.

A 30 minute session took 4 hours.

The tech stuff was accomplished in the first and last 15 minutes. The rest, well Walt told stories and if he noticed me looking at the clock, he said, “Just one more thing.”

And so our routine was born. I started planning for the longer visits. In time, he needed no assistance with his computer, but we went through the motions anyway.

We all need story tellers and Walt is a master.

Little by little I learned of his youth. I learned of his days in WWII. Which roses in the yard he liked the most and about stray voltage in the barn.

Sgt. MatthewsPhoto from the Walter Matthews collection

Sgt. Matthews
Photo from the Walter Matthews collection

I laughed and cried when he shared stories of his daughter, Pat. She was the light of his life and brought much joy to Walt and Ruth. Pat died at 37 from primary biliary cirrhosis.

Not long after that Ruth was stricken with Alzheimer’s. For many years, Walt cared for her every need. The kind of care not born of obligation, but born of love.

A few years after Ruth passed, Walt was blessed with another chance for a love in his life and Bee came into his heart and ours.

Bee and Walt, just after Valentine's Day 2008.

Bee and Walt, just after Valentine’s Day 2008.                               Photo by MaryALivingston

Every once in a while, we still sneak a morning together and a cup of tea. We make no pretenses of caring for the computer, the time is ours to enjoy the stories and share a little bliss.

If you ever have the occasion, ask Walt to brew a cup of tea and tell you a story.

Your life will be richer for it.

I love you Walt,

Happy Birthday

The two of us. Photo by Bernice Bennett (Bee)

The two of us. Photo by Bernice Bennett (Bee)

27 thoughts on “Just One More Thing

  1. Hooray for such a story as this! It sounds like both of you are richer for this friendship. Your story is a celebration of all that life is meant to be – relationship, friendship, memories kept alive through the retelling, and moving forward always. Thank you.

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  2. Dear Mary, What a blessing you are to Walt and what a blessing he is to you. Celebrate your willingness to share your talents with others. Enjoy the wonderful joy of hearing Walt’s stories. Thanks for sharing this story and pictures with us.

    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards

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  3. It was such a lovely story to read, and with a happy ending I’ve come back to reread it. Also I want to Thank You and Tim for all you support on my site with likes and comments, it’s really kept me going. After 25 years I have poked my head out of the box and there are people interested in what I do! Thank You! 🙂

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  4. Pingback: Just One Last Thing | Sneaking Bliss

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