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The Rose

2006-07-23 16:49

  The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged1 us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming2 up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being. She said," Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?" I laughed and enthusiastically responded," Of course you may!" and she gave me a giant3 squeeze4.

  " Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked. She jokingly replied, " I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, have a couple of children, and then retire and travel." " No, seriously?" I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

  " I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!" she told me. After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake5. We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop6. I was always mesmerized7 listening to this " time machine" as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

  Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon8 and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in9 the attention bestowed10 up her from the other students. She was living it up11. At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium12. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by13 five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, " I'm sorry I'm so jittery14. I gave up beer for Lent15 and this whisky is killing me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know." As we laughed she cleared her throat and began:" We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success."

  " You have to laugh and find humor every day."

  " You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!"

  " There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight. Anybody can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding the opportunity in change."

  " Have no regrets. The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets."

  She concluded her speech by courageously16 singing " The Rose." She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out17 in our daily lives.

  At the year's end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.

  Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute18 to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be.

  Remember, growing older is mandatory19, growing up is optional.

  开学的第一天教授做了自我介绍,他还要求我们去结识某位我们还不认识的人。就在我站起来四处张望时,一只手轻轻地搭在了我的肩上。我转过身一看,一位满脸皱纹个子矮小的老太太正冲着我微笑。这微笑使她浑身光彩照人。她说:"嘿,帅小伙儿,我叫罗斯,今年87岁。我可以拥抱你吗?"我笑了起来,热情地答道: "当然可以啦!"她紧紧地拥抱了我。

  "你为什么在这么年轻而天真的年龄上大学?"我问。她开玩笑地回答说:"我要在此遇到一个有钱的丈夫,结婚,生几个孩子,然后退休,去旅游。""真的吗?不对吧?"我问她。我很想知道,她这么大年纪,是什么促使她接受这样的挑战呢。

  "我一直梦想接受大学教育。而现在我如愿以偿了!"她告诉我说。课后我们一同到学生活动楼,共饮了一杯巧克力泡沫牛奶。我们一下子就成了朋友。在此后的三个月中,我们每天都一起离开课堂,聊起来没完没了。在她向我传授她的智慧和经验时,我总是着了迷似地倾听这个"时间机器".

  在这一年里,罗斯成了校园里的偶像。不管到哪里,她很容易地就交上了朋友。她喜欢精心打扮,陶醉于其他学生对她的注意。她尽情地享受这一切。到学期末,我们请罗斯在我们的足球宴会上讲话。我永远也不会忘记她给我们的教诲。介绍完毕后她就登上讲台。正当她要开始已准备好的演讲时,她的5寸长3寸宽的卡片掉在了地上。她有些不知所措,还有点尴尬,于是就靠近话筒干脆说了起来:"很抱歉我这么紧张。我为大斋节戒了啤酒,而这威士忌可是毁了我!按原先准备好了的讲是不可能了,还是把我所知道的说给你们听吧。"我们都笑了,她则清了清嗓子开始说:"我们并不因为自己老了而不娱乐;我们因为停止了娱乐而变老。要想保持年轻,过得幸福并取得成功只有4条秘诀。"

  "每天都要笑,每天都要找到幽默。"

  "一定要有梦想。失去了梦想,人就死了。在我们周围有那么多行尸走肉般的人,他们却不自知!"

  "变老和成熟是有巨大区别的。如果你19岁,在床上躺一整年,而不做一件有成效的事情,你会到20岁。如果我87岁,在床上待一年什么也不做,我也会到88岁。谁都会老,那不需要天才或能力。我的意思是要通过在变化中不断地寻找机会而达到成熟。"

  "不要后悔。年长的人一般不会为我们的所做的事而后悔,而会为我们所没有做的事后悔。只有充满遗憾的人才惧怕死亡。"

  她勇敢地唱了一首《玫瑰之歌》作为结束,还要求我们每个人学习歌词并在日常生活中将词意付诸行动。

  年末,罗斯结束了她多年前就开始的大学生涯,取得了学位。毕业一周之后,罗斯在睡梦中平静地去世。

  两千多名大学生出席了她的葬礼,对这位了不起的女士表示敬意。她以自身范例教育我们:发挥自己的潜能永不为晚。

  记住,衰老是无法抗拒的,而成熟却是可以选择的。

  注释:

  1.challenge ]vt.要求

  2.beam vi.(面)露喜色,(人)满脸堆

  3.giant adj.特大的

  4.squeeze n.紧握,紧抱

  5.milkshake n.泡沫牛奶(将牛奶、冰淇淋等混合后搅拌至起泡的饮料)

  6.nonstop adv.不断地,不停地

  7.mesmerize vt.迷惑,迷住

  8.icon n.偶像,崇拜对象

  9.revel vi.(与in连用)陶醉,着迷

  10.bestow vt.把…给予

  11.live it up [口]狂欢,享乐一番

  12.podium n.讲台

  13.by prep. 表示乘、除、面积等

  14.jittery adj.[口]紧张不安的,神经过敏的

  15.Lent n.[宗]大斋节(指复活节前为期40天的斋戒及忏悔,以纪念耶稣在荒野禁食。)

  16.courageously adv.无畏地

  17.live out 实践,身体力行

  18.tribute n.颂辞,称赞

  19.mandatory adj.强制的

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