How to Live A Good Life

I didn’t know “Ed” Lowe, but he sounds like a good neighbor. Ed died Sunday at the age of 87. He was born and raised in Pine Grove, West Virginia. His parents had a pretty sizable family as Ed had five sisters and a brother who preceded him in death. Ed was the last of the siblings to pass on.

Other than a four-year stint in Korea, Ed spent his life in the same town and house in which he grew up. He and his wife Mary Cathern were married for 61 years, and raised two daughters in that Pine Grove homestead.

Those daughters, in turn, blessed the family with three grandchildren. Then came seven great-grandchildren and a great-great-grandchild.

Ed was one of those men who worked at the same job for 36 years — at the Ormet Corp. He also volunteered his time as an ambulance driver for the local emergency squad. But through all the routine of this life, Ed achieved what many of us only wish we could: Ed obviously found contentment in the simple things in life. Church, family, friends, gardening and yard work were his life.

His obituary noted that “he was a Christian who loved everyone.” I don’t know many people who can say that in these times no matter what faith they profess, but Ed did. If you ask me, Ed had an advantage. He lived in a place and time when people relied on front porch conversations; I imagine he could spin a good story when among friends and family.

Ed’s family asked that you remember him in a unique way. They suggest you take a friend to dinner and “make sure you tip the waitress.” Now that sums up the life of a good man.

Every day I hear people of my age and older talk about how things used to be less complicated, less hurried. I have to remind myself and others that we can’t live in the past, only learn from it and move on.

Many talks often center on a return to manners. One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard among baby boomers is the lack of respect for others and the air of entitlement among some. That’s pretty evident in what you see and hear around you. Take a stroll through the mall or even the local grocery store. The foul language spewed from mouths like bubble gum is everywhere. I heard a young woman applying for a job on a computer at a local store and she used the “F” word out loud several times while filling out a form. Don’t ask me for a reference.

Our kids and grandkids are light years ahead of us in so many modern ways. And that is a wonderful thing. They have to forge their own pathways in life in a world changing faster than the water slide at Wheeling Park. As elders, we can only hope we’ve passed on some useful information that helps them along the way.

I believe we can take a cue from Ed Lowe and just treat people the way we want people to treat us. And maybe that includes taking a friend to dinner and OVER tipping the waitress.

Heather Ziegler can be reached via email at hziegler@theintelligencer.net.

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