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Live and learn?

Live and learn. I think about that old saying a lot.

I think that’s why we’re all here – to learn. Sometimes I think I’m wiser than I’ve ever been, and sometimes I’m certain I don’t know the first thing about anything – but I’m trying.

One of my favorite questions to ask people is, “What have you learned in the past few years?” The answers are as varied as the people.

Kids go straight to the basics: math, reading, chemistry, and so on. Middle-aged people often speak on responsibility, preparing for the future and being ready for whatever life might throw at you. Older people speak on patience, on loneliness and on how fast it all really goes by.

But people of all ages have told me they’ve learned to love others.

My neighbor is a widow. We made friends because he found our dog, Amos Moses, after he ran away one night during the Watermelon Festival.

I think Amos Moses was bound and determined to get a corndog, but he didn’t make it that far. He made it to the house down the street.

When I went to pick him up, I wound up talking to the old man a long time. He told me about his house. He raised a family there – or I should say, “They raised a family there,” because he spent the majority of our conversation talking about how much he loved his wife and how much he missed her.

He was planning on selling the house. It reminded him too much of her.

He told me, “If you’ve got a good woman, you need to tell her you love her every day because one day you might not be able to.”

The house hasn’t sold. He’s still there in his lawn chair, waving as I go by.

Seeing him always makes me realize how blessed I am to have who I have at home. Thanks to him, I’ve learned I can’t tell her enough.

My uncle used to say, “Some people live and learn, and some people just live.”

I’ve asked that question about learning a hundred times, probably, and I’ve had one person tell me they didn’t learn anything. He was 50 when I asked, and he told me he knew everything he’d ever need to know by 30.

He was my boss at the time. Anyone who worked for him wouldn’t have been surprised by that answer. You couldn’t tell him nothing.

I get it. I used to be that way. I’m glad I’m not anymore.

I got a ways to go before 50, and I pray I won’t be able to say that. I pray I’ll be able to say I’m a little older and a lot wiser.

Job 12:12 says, “Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?”

I think it does, so I plan to keep on asking people what they’ve learned the last few years – because I’ve learned it’s good to learn.

Will Stults is a performing songwriter from Russellville.