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How old is too old?

It was Wednesday night January 12, 1994 and we had just finished a scrumptious dinner at the University Club complete with a most wonderful ice cream desert, almond balls. Dr. Harriet Cabell went around the room introducing each of the staff members and teachers that worked closely with The External Degree program at The University of Alabama. When she got to Professor Colgan H. Bryan, she paused and emphasized to us that if we need a science, his “Engineering: The Foundation of the Modern World” course will be one of the most enjoyable learning experiences we will ever have.

I kind of passed over that seeing that he was a frail looking man of 84 years old and I was not sure that he would live long enough for me to finish the class. I didn’t need to miss any time from my studies.

So I waited until I could wait no longer and then in 1997, I decided to take his class. Now Professor Bryan was 87 years old and I was 51. Dr. Cabell didn’t stretch any truth about a wonderful learning experience, I was just sorry that I had not taken any of his classes earlier.

Why am I rambling on about something of seemingly little importance? Professor Bryan continued encouraging, teaching, and inspiring students in practical aspects of life and science until he was 95 years old. My life would not be complete if I had not met this humble man who joined the University of Alabama’s Aeronautical Aerospace & Engineering department in 1942 and headed up The University’s efforts to support engineering and training for The United States of America during WWII. He was chairman of the department from 1952 – 1968. Thank You Professor Bryan for continuing to teach until I finally decided to learn.

I love to listen to books on tape/CD and I always have several in my truck. I listen to inspirational messages a good bit but most often I listen to fiction.

Today I picked up “The Lawgiver” on CD from the Mobile public library. I don’t know how good it is but other books written by Herman Wouk that I have read were wonderful. I checked out “The Caine Mutiny” from the library at Vigor High School in 1963, thoroughly enjoyed it, and wrote a passable book report on it. The book was later made into a movie with Humphrey Bogart as Captain Queeg. I still remember the dastardly plot of the missing strawberries.

Wouk also wrote the books that were the basis for the two series on TV in the 1970’s, “Winds of War” & “War and Remembrance.”

Why would I say anything about this now? It is easy; Herman Wouk wrote this latest work at the young age of 97.

Who can forget George Beverly Shea from the Billy Graham evangelistic crusades? Shea passed away on April 16, 2013 at the age of 104.

Do you remember George Burns the cigar-puffing comedian who along with his scatterbrained wife, Gracie Allen, entertained us from the early days of TV until he was 100? He often said (loosely quoting), “My doctor tells me to quit smoking these cigars or they will kill me. I buried my sixth doctor last week.”

If you are not old, do you have some older people in your family? Take time with them they have a world of experience that they are likely to share. You will be amazed at what you learn.

Don’t ever just sit down permanently and do nothing. Continue to do something. Contribute where you can. You will leave a lasting legacy.

by Wayne Brady 3/26/2013

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3 thoughts on “Encouragement for the Ages-Part Five

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