Like most things in life, I think lessons are not recognized until significant time has passed. Tonight it was an hour before I realized I had received a gift, a lesson from an old man in the Kiwanis club I visited. He is talkative and was thirty-five minutes talkative tonight. He told me about many things, including the bananas he gets from the grocery store at reduced prices, bananas he gives to nursing homes for free on a regular basis like he has done for over three years. He told me about how he started with the bananas when his doctor told him to feed his dying wife two bananas a die to help her regain the thirty pounds she had lost as she grew close to the end of her life. He did, he fed her two bananas a day. He told me that she regained all of her weight back because of the bananas. He didn’t tell me how or when she died, but I think he didn’t forget. He wanted to tell me about things that were important to him, he told me that giving the bananas away made him feel important and helped him to feel like he was doing something that mattered, something that made a difference. Later talk about legal battles with ex-barbershop co-workers and current business partners and rent have lost detail in my mind. They are obscured by this single thought in my mind now: I could, in sooner years than I could predict, be like this man whom I spoke with tonight. I would like to think I would be confident, cool, quiet and reserved in self-respect and dignity as I grow older. I have a vision of my ability to feel important inside to such a degree that I never am seen outwardly chasing after appreciation or worth. I also realize I am vulnerable, fragile and so often a product of my environment. I am a creature molded gently by the caring people around me who have told me I am unique, important and worth immeasurable treasures. I bet Gerald had that too. I bet his wife told him those things, through words and touches. There were probably other people that did too, friends and family in every direction for years. Gerald is old. Many of his closest friends are gone, his family dead or distant and his wife gone now too. I am not so different from Gerald in my potential. I think his gift to me, at least the one I have realized after the last hour, is a gift of illumination. He has shown me where his potential lies in me. I’m not sure I will ever tell him, but I feel like he has shown me his importance and he didn’t even have to give me a banana.