Having worked at a number of retirement communities and been actively involved with moving hundreds of residents in, I was never particularly surprised at the things residents chose to bring to their new homes (Though, I’ll always wonder why so many widows clung to massive king-sized beds when they chose a one-bedroom apartment). But I was surprised when an existing resident strode into my office one day and excitedly asked, “Did you see what the new residents are moving in?”
“No,” I said, more curious about their excitement than what they may have actually seen. “A cannon!” they announced. “A cannon?” I asked. “Yes! A cannon.” Well, that was a new one to me. Our campus did have a strict no firearms policy. But, I figured, if any resident should be allowed to have a cannon, I would have chosen them.
After all, our community was out in the Texas Hill Country surrounded by as-yet undeveloped land for as far as the eye could see. And they had a corner apartment on the top floor. It certainly would’ve appeared to be the best defensive position in the entire building against any possible attacks.
Later that day, I had the opportunity to visit the apartment to complete their move-in paperwork and had to ask. “One of the residents told me something interesting today,” I cautiously noted. “What’s that?” the resident asked. “They said they saw you moving a cannon in.”
The resident was momentarily perplexed and searched her brain for the origins of this curious statement. Suddenly, her face lit up in amusement and she said, “Oh, that’s not a cannon!” Then she invited me into the apartment to show me the object of attention.
It turned out that her husband had worked in the Peace Corps in Africa for a number of years. While there, he had acquired a few souvenirs. One of them, which she proudly showed me, was a tall narrow drum with a small drumhead. When laid on its side, the drum was exactly the same size and proportions as an antique cannon—which it may well have been originally modeled after.
We both had to have a good laugh at the prospect of she and her husband defending our campus from their third-floor apartment. While in all reality they didn’t have a cannon, they would be ready to answer the drums of war.
As you journey along the gray mile, you may hear many stories. Some are true. Some aren’t . . . Do your homework. Ask questions. And be prepared to be surprised.