What I Learned From A 98-Year-Old Guest

98-years-old on a Canton Food Tour? I wasn’t sure what to expect.

98-years-old on a Canton Food Tour? I wasn’t sure what to expect. I walked up to Pat to introduce myself and he handed me a sticker. It was small and shiny. I put the sticker on my shirt near my logo and it sparkled in the sun. That’s when I noticed he had “blinged” himself and others in the group. This was going to be fun.

The rest of the group soon joined us, we piled in the van, and were off. First stop was Ben Heggy’s Chocolate Company. Boy did it smell good when we opened the door. As our group selected chocolates, Pat remarked, “I remember when those chocolate covered marshmallows were a penny”. Everyone laughed.

Basil Asian Bistro was next. Pat slurped up the Asian noodles while others in the group were more picky. Before we left, I noticed that restaurant owner, Tony Ly, had been “blinged” too. After Basil it was on to Hazel Artisan Bakery.

I enjoyed listening to the group chat, reminisce, and laugh together. Chef Lonnie Ball placed scrumptious dessert platters down, two with lit candles, celebrating two Birthdays in the group, the reason for the tour. The girls laughed.

In between stops Pat would sing the song, “Doodle Dee Doo”. He asked me to sing along. I did. Others joined in. He implored, “Wiggle your butt when you sing”. We did.

Next stop was Kennedy’s BBQ, followed by a trip to McKinley Monument and West Lawn Cemetery.

Last stop was Taggart’s Ice Cream Parlor and once the Bittner glasses were scraped clean, we headed for the van one last time. Pat linked arms with me on one side and his daughter Beth on the other. He said, “Let’s sing”. So there on Fulton Drive, we sang and shook our butts on the way to the van. It was a memorable day.

It reminded me of something motivational speaker Marshall Goldsmith said at a recent conference in Phoenix, Arizona. Three words: “Be. Happy. Now.“

The next day, a Sunday, I was telling a friend about Pat and the impression he made on me. After I hung up the phone I found three new emails, all from Pat. Two contained jokes or funny stories. The third started out like this: “When I grow up I want to be just like you…..” The rest of that email contained the words to the “Doodle Dee Doo” song. I shimmied my butt in the seat as I read it.


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