Tuesday, March 20, 2007

small town Sunday: Oscar

This weekend, I had the joy of having more than just a small town Sunday. My folks came to visit and, having heard me talk about Green Mountain Falls, decided that they'd rather stay there than in the city (see where I get it from?). So we rented a cottage for the night, a cute little abode overlooking the lake and gazebo. With the onset of sheer exhaustion following finals week, it could not have come at a better time.

There were many highlights for the weekend. We discovered that the town literally has no store (the old one is for sale). I ate some of the best prime rib I've ever had, which one doesn't always expect to find in a town that doesn't even have a store, and whose current public bathroom is a porta-potty. In church, the visiting preacher gave one of the most long-winded prayers in known history, and he asked the kids if they had ever heard the term "teacher's pet", while I sat there thinking "They've never heard the word "term", silly." Later, after the service, we dined at the counter of a cafe where we were served by an energetic woman with a classic, rapsy diner voice.

But the true highlight of the weekend was Oscar. We met him walking through the park by the lake, dressed in overalls and slightly hunched as he leaned on his walking stick. He approached us, commenting that he could tell our dog was walking us, rather than us walking him. He was deaf as could be and willing to admit it. Still, he'd just say, "I didn't hear that" and keep talking anyway. Oscar is a 91 year-old Swede who has lived in Green Mountain Falls for over fifty years. He has shod over 30,000 horses in his lifetime, he told us (and my dad noticed he still had strong hands with an iron shake). Looking at the lake, he said, "Years ago, there would be 20 fisherman sitting around this lake every week. Now there are about 2 every month, because everyone is at home watching TV and taking pills. I'm 91 years old and I've never taken a pill in my life! Excercise is the best God damn medicine there is." (Excuse the language for the sake of quoting a hilarious old man.) Oscar was a delight, one of those rare jewels, more full of life and feistiness than most people half his age.

I may never shoe a horse, but I sure hope that when I'm 91, I'll be walking around a small town in overalls, telling my story to those who still have their hearing.

5 comments:

Carrie said...

Awesome. I loved reading this.
I can picture the old man vividly in my mind. Good advice, Oscar. Exercise (even if it's fishing) is some of the best medicine aound.

Olin said...

That is a lot of horse-shoin', UFF-TA! We had an old friend named Charlie - he got a little surly in his old age, pinching the nurses butts at his nursing home. Yeah God for older and odder folks!

Katie said...

When you are old and walk around lakes talking to random people about "the old days"... I'll come listen/talk to you. We can be the "crazy old Katies"- how does that sound?

Q said...

so what you're saying is that this is an amazing fishing spot and no one goes fishing there anymore? we may need to rectify this situation...

Anonymous said...

I love it Kate. Your dad and I will be the old deaf folks strolling around the lake in raggedy Hawaiian shirts-probably the same ones we wore last weekend. I'm sure Oscar would love knowing that his sage advice is going out over the internet!
Mamacita