It seems that the geezer years bring into your life long past connections that you have not thought about for years. Sometimes these connections can bring pleasant things and other times they can be sad events evoking a variety of emotions.
A few days ago I ran across an obituary of a long forgotten acquaintance who had moved from my area of residence many years ago. He was a star in his field of endeavor and had a glorious career at Cornell. I met him in the 1950's when he was a new Assistant Professor on the fast track. I followed the stories of his career for a long time but over the last 10 years or so had no interaction. He had the good fortune to keep going to nearly 96 years of age. I guess all good things come to an end. But it was still sad to read about his demise.
Yesterday, I met with a friend from the time we were both studying agricultural engineering at Cornell 1953 to 1957. He graduated in 1956 and I was the class of 1957. I hadn't seen him face to face since 1957. We went our separate ways and really never had a chance to meet in all those years. It was remarkable that we still had a lot of things to share about the intervening years. We both had both triumphs and tragedies to share as we did some catching up. I guess it was a pleasure but reminiscing has its limits. After an hour of listening to his companion, I was ready to move on!
Continuing in the vein of connection, there is the work of mathematician Steve Strogatz and his Ph.D. student who pioneered theories of degrees of separation of people or perhaps the degrees of connection. Apparently we all are about five degrees of separation from all the people on the planet. I can believe that when I get friend requests on FaceBook. When I explore those requests and examine the mutual friends I can see how the chain will spin out if I accept those requests.
In summary there has to be a lesson here. We do not live in isolation. We are a connected species and it behooves us to be kind to one another. Perhaps we can find hope in humankind if we can believe that the kindness we extend even to the stranger can spread throughout the world!