Slow was his modus operandi.
My grandfather ate slowly. He took a bite and chewed instead of gulping down like some of us, on the run, were prone to do. He took so long to finish his meal that the rest of the family sometimes got up and left before he was done. (Doesn’t sound very polite, does it? But that’s how I remember it.) He enjoyed his food, though, and it evidently didn’t hurt him to eat that way, because he lived to age 94.
He walked slowly, too. That, in addition to gardening, was his exercise regime. Long walks, but slow. No jogging for him! I think he would have laughed at “working out at the gym.” I never saw him run.
That seems to have worked out well, too. He managed to go on his solo walks till quite late in life, and get back home safely, too, despite my grandmother’s worrying all the time he was gone. “I’m afraid he’ll fall over somewhere and no one will know,” she’d say, peering out windows, looking for his return. She didn’t go for walks. She sometimes rushed about, getting things done “on time.” He outlived her by over a decade.
He did his tasks slowly and deliberately, too. I can remember him sitting on “the back stoop” shelling beans or podding peas, while telling us kids his stories and singing us the silly songs that made us laugh. That’s why we stopped our running and shouting to sit down quietly beside him.
I think he even read slowly, stopping to ponder what he’d read. Asked us children philosophical questions, asked us what we thought—and listened to what we answered.
So much is speed-timed now. Rushed, and harried, we “meet deadlines”—a lot. I wonder if we haven’t short-circuited creativity, deeper thought, sweeter simple pleasures, and better health for all generations with our off-to-the races mentality. He lived longer than any member of our family, despite major health issues earlier in life that forced early retirement and made him and everyone else think he wouldn’t live beyond his sixties.
I wonder if “slow down and live” isn’t a very wise maxim, in more ways than one.