I have an old-man friend, a “College Station Grandpa,” if you will. Doyle is a Texas A&M graduate (Class of ’42) and is one of my favorite people on the planet.
He watched me grow up because our families shared the same hunting lease for more than 20 years of my life. It’s important to mention that I adored his wife, Tillie, and she truly molded many of my childhood memories–cooking breakfast, playing cards, and taking long walks on the ranch.
When I was in college, I visited Doyle and Tillie as often as I could. Since I’ve returned to College Station, Tillie has passed on and I try to visit Doyle at least once a month.
When Doyle was a student at Texas A&M, he worked at the Dairy.
“Cows didn’t milk themselves, Megan, we didn’t have all those machines back then. Holidays. Snow. Ice. You name it, I was there.”
Additionally, he served our country in World War II. He worked for Texas A&M Extension for most of his life and has the very best stories.
I could listen to Doyle’s stories for hours (and I have). Often, after minutes into telling a story, he says,
“Well, to make a long story short…”
I always smile after he says this because I know it means at least ten more minutes.
Today, Doyle lives in College Station at a very nice retirement home. I visit Doyle on Tuesdays because, after dinner, we play “Ninety-Nine” with his friends. I won’t waste words here explaining it–just click the link to learn), but I will tell you that it’s so much fun and kind of hard to keep up with his 80 and 90 year-old friends. Fortunately, I got lucky last time we played and won quite a bit. Don’t worry–we only play with nickels, so I’m not cheating anyone out of their retirement.
After playing Ninety-Nine, Doyle and I always go back to his apartment and talk about life for a few hours. And by “talk about life” I mean, he tells me wonderful stories and teaches me more about life than many ever have.
Doyle is my constant reminder that:
- A full life is spent doing what you love with the people who make you happy.
- There are no hand-outs in life–and there shouldn’t be. Work hard, always.
- Kindness is an invaluable quality.
I know our talks won’t last forever–he even jokes about it…he can be kind of morbid like that, but he’s had such a full life that he’s able to laugh about it.
But until that time comes (which I hope is far, far away), I will still spend my Tuesdays with Doyle and his friends–beating them in Ninety-Nine and soaking up every moment with my dearest, old-man friend.