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Counting my blessings

What is it about old age that makes you walk down the memory path more often than you used to? Or pine for the good ol’ days when “things” were done differently, or, to put it succinctly, when life was simpler? Can it be because the Grim Reaper is impatiently beckoning with his scythe? Heaven forbid. I intend to enjoy my senior privileges and discounts for quite a long time.

When I catch myself in this kind of mood, I dwell on the positive and count my blessings, in particular the wonderful and kind people I’ve met in life — encounters of the best kind.

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Like this young man in his 20s, with a gentle demeanor and a welcoming smile, who makes ready for pickup my week’s supply of bread. Ever mindful of my senior status, he needs no prodding to see to the discount that goes with my purchases.

Or the bank personnel who have stood the test of time with their impeccable service from when I started dealing business with them, and have graciously assisted me given my almost-zero knowledge of electronic banking that has revolutionized all banking institutions. (The ATM is one of my worst nightmares. This is one of the reasons I am resolute on transacting my business with the bank over the counter, using my old reliable passbook. Call me “Jurassic,” but it is what I’m comfortable with.)

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I recall with an impish smile the time when I put one bank employee through a very “challenging” job. I brought a bag full of out-of-circulation coins for exchange as required by the central bank. She painstakingly counted them in front of me. If that is not service, I don’t know what is.

The beauty parlor is one of my comfort zones. The one I patronize has looked after my “beauty” needs for almost four decades now. My pedicurist and I go a long way. In fact, she has been doing my nails for the past 31 years and promises to do so for as long as I still have them intact. She grew on me in a way that we now share stories about our families, common friends, ailments, even politics.

My super hair stylist ensures that my hair is properly groomed, with not a strand out of place or a gray hair sticking out by its lonesome. Modesty aside, I have received many complimentary remarks about my hair, which she has styled smartly to suit my age, color and shape of face. She’s very good at what she does.

My doctors’ secretaries must have imbibed their bosses’ bedside manner. The long wait at the clinic goes by unnoticed due to their untiring patience and compassion. Waiting becomes a pleasurable ordeal.

The uncomplaining salespersons who search for my hard-to-find shoe size in their humongous dark bodegas, the security guards who stand ramrod at their posts and give me a salute like I were some person of note, and the amiable waiters who wait solicitously on me also count among my manifold blessings. They go about their jobs with service uppermost in their minds.

Every bit of kindness, if multiplied many times, will generate a ripple effect, and even a tsunami. Every thoughtful act, every little attention, is valued by the elderly like me. They reaffirm my belief in the innate goodness of humankind.

For all the courtesies and amenities that were extended to me, I cannot ask for more. I must say that   service accompanied by a personal touch has generously amplified my level of satisfaction.

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I wish that even the most jaded among you will agree with me that the values we hold dear have not been forgotten and consigned to oblivion. Perhaps, on those nights when sleep does not come, we should be counting our blessings instead of sheep.

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Romana F. Gella, 71, says she is a firm believer in the adage “One good turn deserves another.”

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