Today my dog did not want to go for a walk with me, and no amount of asking would convince her to come. So off I went on my own. In the residential area I walk in there is an older man who often sits outside, leaning on the hood of his car. Until today I would have guessed he was 65 or so. Maybe 70. I have chatted with him briefly over the last couple years. He speaks English, but lately I have found out that he is actually fluent. His English is perfect.
Today when I walked past, he was at his regular spot,wearing a Hooters t shirt. We began talking about the annoying chicharras. We talked about how we have them in Canada, but they are not nearly as noisy as they are here, and they are called cicadas. He has a wealth full of information about them. How they lay their eggs underground and they do not hatch for at least ten years…how they die after the rain comes. Actually if you were to google them…their eggs actually lay dormant under the ground for up to 17 years!
If Abby had been with me, I would have kept on going after a brief conversation because Abby would have been antsy to get moving. Today however, he seemed in the mood to chat, and for at least half an hour we talked. His life could be made into a movie. It kind of reminded me of Forest Gump.. all the adventures he has had in his lifetime.
He told me about how he grew up in the same neighbourhood as he lives now, but a couple doors down. He told me stories of his mom, how she liked to sleep in past the time they needed to be ready for school and how she would leave him and his sibling 5 cents . Every morning he would walk down the the pulperia and buy an egg, an avocado and semilltas and that was his and his siblings breakfast each day. The lady at the store would tell him to just take what you need and leave the money on the counter. It was a more honest place to live back then. One could leave a bag of groceries on the car over night and it would still be there in the morning. It’s sure not like that nowadays.
. He told me how his dad gave him a gun and let him shoot doves out of the trees and how his mom made the most delicious soup from them. He has seven siblings, and he is the oldest. Four sisters and three brothers, but he is the only surviving male. I was shocked when he told me he was going to be 90 at the end of the month.90! I never would have guessed he was that old!
He studied in Washington and got his doctorate there. He’s a biologist but has not worked since he was hit by a motorcycle, and now gets around with a cane. .He said if people don’t have a job by the time they are 40, there is no hope for them to ever have a job in this country. He did not have his first child until he was 5o years old….and he has three grown daughters who all followed in his footsteps and are doctors. One in Belguim, one in Miami and one here in Honduras. He has three beautiful granddaughters. The one in Belguim has not been doing so well emotionally since the attack in Belguim and spent three weeks in the hospital. He told me how she calls him almost every night to say “Opa, I love you!
He fought in the war,and he told me how Japan had come and built a water tank across from his house and how one of the employees from there stole something from his yard. He confronted him and told him that he had killed a lot of Japanese in his day and if he ever stole from him again ….well you can use your imagination here… He told me after that the man never stole from him again. Not only that but they actually became great friends and the Japanese man would come over to his house and they would enjoy a beer together now and then.
He moved back to this area in 1980, the same area he was raised in as a boy. He has lived in the same house since then. I heard about the time a few years ago that a man came to his door wanting work and how he had no work for him but still gave him some money. I heard how that man ripped up the money and threw it on the ground. He still has the shredded money in his mail box as a reminder of his attempt at generosity.
He also told me that he uses me as an example all the time to other people walking their dogs. He said “ you see that lady there walking her dog and how she always carries a bag with her? Do you know that bag is for? It’s to clean up after her dog. You should do the same.” He told me that the feces left in the street can cause amoebas and people wonder why they are sick…That even when cars drive over it, it releases toxins that people or animals can breathe in. Not sure if that truth or not, but I guess given the fact that he is a biologist, perhaps it is true..
He mentioned how he liked how safe this neighbourhood is. ”You see women walking here all the time here alone and there is no problem. They are perfectly fine, but;”.. he pointed to the neighbourhood directly below—“if you were to walk down below near the Villa Olimpica track, then you would have to be careful.”
For the most part, Jorge did all the talking, I found his life fascinating. There is more I could share of our conversation but for now I wanted to write out most of what I remember . But I’m hoping to have more conversations with him in the near future and am praying for opportunity to bring faith into the conversation because I would love to know about his faith journey…and share with him mine..