This is part one of a series about Lorene who enrolled in hospice when she was ninety-two years old. Lorene was born in Elliott County, Kentucky, but was raised in Rowan County, outside of Moorehead. Lorene is one of nine children and stated, “There was never any jealousy between us. We wanted the best for each other and stayed close throughout the years. You like to know someone is in your corner and we knew it. Lorene, her husband Charles, their nine-year-old son Randy and their four-year-old daughter Carol moved from Kentucky to a small farm in Adams County, Ohio in 1968. The government seized their farm in Kentucky through eminent domain to build a dam that would eventually form Cave Run Lake.
Lorene reminisced, “I was really fortunate; I got a really good education. Our school was the only state school in Kentucky. It was a part of the college. It was integrated with the Education Department of Moorhead State University and all of my teachers had Master’s Degrees, which was unheard of in those days, (1931– 1943). FDR was the president all the time that I was in school. I wasn’t the worst student. I was in the Beta Club but I just did my assignments. Nothing, in particular, caught my interest; I didn’t explore. But now if I’m interested in something I read all about it. I’ve used a dictionary all my life because if I’m going to write something down I want to make sure it’s spelled right.”
Lorene has a “word for the day” prepared for me almost every Monday when I visit; “I have a word for you, ‘civility’; if we were more civil we would all get along better wouldn’t we… I have a word for you, ‘serenity’; if we are serene we are ahead of the game… I have a word for you, ‘loyalty’; you have to be loyal to have friends don’t you. So it’s all on you… I have a word for you, ’blessed and blessing’, I want to be blessed and to be a blessing… I have a word for you, ‘Plenty, plentiful’. It’s archaic, we don’t’ use it much anymore. It means more than enough. You are more than enough today.” I suggested to Lorene, “You would have made a wonderful English teacher”; but in retrospect she already is. After all she is teaching me. We don’t need a college degree to teach, do we?
Lorene doesn’t have formal “higher education”, but in the words of Yogi the Bear, she is undeniably “smarter than the average bear”. She is an avid reader, has an exceptional vocabulary and has extraordinary “linguistic intelligence”. There’s a practical difference between education and intelligence. Howard Gardner theorized that there are seven distinct types of intelligence; visual-spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, linguistic, intrapersonal and logical-mathematical, (Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, 1983).
Psychologist, Raymond Cattell, defined intelligence as “… the ability to solve problems or to create products…” He suggested that there are two types of intelligence, “Fluid” and “Crystalized”. Fluid intelligence is the capacity to reason and solve novel problems. It depends upon the persons natural or God-given abilities and it can’t be obtained or acquired through education. It’s commonly referred to as “common sense”. Thomas Edison contended, “The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are: hard work, stick-to-itiveness, and common sense.” And Ralph Waldo Emerson stated, “Common sense is genius dressed in its work clothes.”
Lorene once commented to me, “Other people from the surrounding counties look down on us here in Adams County. They don’t think we are very smart, but you seem to really like us.” I explained that I laid claim to the hospice patients in Adams County a long time ago; that I really enjoy my time with the people here. I appreciate their frankness and grassroots culture. I explained that I’ve found the people of Adams County to be some of the wisest, most ingenious, creative and resilient people I’ve met. They have an abundance of common sense, which in the words of Voltaire, “… is not so common.” And through my relationships with the people of Adams County, I’ve seen a lot of “genius dressed in its work clothes”.
A wise man doesn’t judge a book by its cover or a person by their stature, the clothes they wear, their accent nor the number of letters and credentials listed behind their last name. I’m reminded of a story in the Bible about the danger of judging a book by its cover. God commissioned Samuel the prophet to find a replacement for King Saul. David, by human standards, was the most unlikely of Jesse’s sons to become Saul’s replacement, but
God advised Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature… For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:1-12).
“One by one, Jesse’s sons stood before the prophet, the Father knew a king would soon be found. Each one passed except the last, no one thought to call him; surely he will never wear the crown. But when other’s see a shepherd boy, God may see a king, for though your life seems filled with ordinary things. Just a moment and He can touch you and everything will change, when others see a shepherd boy, God may see a king,” (“Shepherd Boy”, by Ray Boltz).
Loren Hardin is a social worker with Southern Ohio Medical Center-Hospice, and can be reached at 740-356-2525 or at email@example.com. You can order Loren’s new book, “Straight Paths,” online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.