A Droplet of Inspiration

by Holly on July 29, 2010

in inspiration droplets

Almost every morning on my way to work, I see the absolutely cutest old man exercising. With resistance bands attached to his geriatric shoes, you can find him grapevining his way up the streets of Madison or racing up the State Capitol stairs step-by-step…

I estimate he’s about 70 years old…or more.

At least.

Anyways, two days ago, I was walking up the street when I met this fine gentleman’s eye.

“Good morning,” I said.

“Good morning,” he replied, and I smiled in return, continuing to walk to work.

“Wait, I have something for you!” he said. I stopped, extremely curious as to what this man had to give to me. “For that big ol’ smile of yours.”

He reached in the pocket of his white khaki shorts and pulled out this…

A pin of Bucky Badger jumping rope.

I graciously thanked him, wished him a happy day and continued on my way.


Then, I wished with all my might that when I am 70 years old, I am still walking, stepping and cardioing with stretchy resistance bands attached to my white New Balance shoes.

Until then, I will use him as inspiration.

Because if he can do that at age 70, then I can surely do anything I want – whether it be doing 60 minutes of BodyCombat today or running the Des Moines 1/2 Marathon in October – at age 25.

Even if I need to grapevine my way all 13.1 miles, I’m doin’ it.


Run Sarah July 29, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Love this – such an inspiring story. Elderly, vibrant, healthy people make me smile!

Jessica @ How Sweet It Is July 29, 2010 at 9:29 pm

OH that is too cute!

Allison R. July 29, 2010 at 9:35 pm

LOVE this…makes me want to go sit up on the square in the morning just to see this old fella ;-)

Mama Pea July 29, 2010 at 9:41 pm

THIS is the best blog post I’ve read all day. Hands down.

Sarah E. July 29, 2010 at 9:41 pm

I am with you! First full marathon in Des Moines on October 17… at age 21! Hopefully it will end with a smile :)

Angharad July 29, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Are you running it?! Fun. This man is the cutest. Love it.

amanda July 29, 2010 at 10:01 pm

holly, i have no doubt you won’t be an adorable wearing resistant band wearer! that gives out little pins to cute young men.

what a darling character he sounds to be. you made a friend in your commute. i bet your heart was warmed, because mine is just from reading this story.

Ellen@FirednFabulous July 29, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Aww, so adorbs! I love seeing senior citizens exercise in the park—except when they pass me when I’m running!

Krissy July 29, 2010 at 10:30 pm

Your post brought a tear to my eye – sweetest post I’ve read in a while :) It really puts life in perspective – and like you, I hope at 70 I’m just as active as that sweet man! Thanks girlie for such an heartwarming post!! xoxo

Madeline - Greens and Jeans July 29, 2010 at 11:19 pm

Cutest old man EVER! Okay, what are the odds of me being able to run a half marathon 2 weeks after running a full marathon?

Kailey (SnackFace) July 29, 2010 at 11:21 pm

That kind of man brings tears to my eyes. He makes me so happy!

Maybe I’ll do the halfie with you…as long as I can walk-dance-skip-strut the whole way.


maria @ Chasing the Now July 30, 2010 at 12:20 am

I’m 100% with you! There are 70 and 80 year old Japanese people I see walking EVERY DAY. They are more dedicated than I am. It’s certainly a nice kick in my rear.

Jenn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) July 30, 2010 at 12:30 am

I love hearing about and seeing active seniors! They’re so inspirational and exactly what I hope to be like at their age and beyond. Totally awesome. :)


Little Bookworm July 30, 2010 at 2:53 am

Amazing post! :)

Erica July 30, 2010 at 5:22 am

thats so cute and so awesome. Old men rock. Especially this one.

Katie @ Health for the Whole Self July 30, 2010 at 5:42 am

Love this! The Executive Director at my workplace is 76 years old and still goes to the YMCA three mornings a week. Imagining him getting up before work to stay healthy encourages me to do the same! :)

Lauren July 30, 2010 at 5:52 am

Oh my goodness, this is the sweetest thing I have heard! Every day on my way to work, I see a little old man with these HUGE ear phones walking down the road. At EVERY single car that passes him, he waves. It’s so cute and makes my day every single day! :)

Amy B @ Second City Randomness July 30, 2010 at 5:59 am

In 50 years I hoped to be a mall walker. But I bet it’s a much more enjoyable experience to take the new balances outside.

I think that’s the cutest thing. But I’m curious. Do you think he has like 100 of those pins at home and that’s just his “thing”, or do you think he picked you out specifically? Or was he just feeling extra generous that day? I have so many questions!

Heather (Perspective Is Everything) July 30, 2010 at 7:11 am

So.very. cool.
it’s funny, my computer was being dramatic, stalled, and took a long time to load, right when i got to the part where you wrote, “he reached in the pocket of his white khaki shorts and pulled out this…..”
so i was like “WHAT!!!!!!!! WHAT DID HE PULL OUT OF HIS SHORTS!”
Glad it was a Bucky Badger jumproping pin ;)

Katie July 30, 2010 at 7:19 am

Im with you all the way girl!! I love to be inspired, and how sweet of a story!

I believe we can do anything we put our mind and heart into!


brandi July 30, 2010 at 7:47 am

this is so sweet – there are a few old men that run on campus every day at lunch here, and I think the same thing. I hope I’m out there, doing whatever I can do, when I’m their age.

Happy Friday girl!

Jenny July 30, 2010 at 8:40 am


This is such a sweet story. I also hope that when I’m 70 years old that I can still make people smile with my silliness :)

Kacy July 30, 2010 at 8:56 am

I have such a soft spot for little old men like that – probably because my Grandpa is JUST like that and I love him with my whole soul. I may have teared up a little just now. Sorry about that.

Rosey Rebecca July 30, 2010 at 9:31 am

THAT is the best story I’ve read all day! I love old men…wait…that sounded weird. HA! That guy is awesome!

Andrea@WellnessNotes July 30, 2010 at 9:39 am

Great story!

Have a great weekend, Holly! :)

Emily (A Nutritionist Eats) July 30, 2010 at 10:35 am

I LOVE it!!!
The pin makes me think of this older gent I danced with in New Orleans…he gave me this special coin thing as I guess a souvinear? (I don’t know how to spell that obviously) Very interesting, I wonder how many trinkets they have and give out…

Megan (Braise the Roof) July 30, 2010 at 11:01 am

This is so great! I had a similar thing happen to me yesterday- I was standing on the el platform waiting for the train to come and noticed a girl (probably college aged) with a giant sign that said “free compliments”. She walked over to me and said, “do you want one?” I told her sure and she complimented me, handed me a slip of paper that said “Your day has been brightened!” and walked away. I loved it! :)

Megan @ The Oatmeal Diaries July 30, 2010 at 11:03 am

I must be such a cheeseball because this post (more specifically, that first photo) gave me the biggest grin everrrr. Wouldn’t life be great if we were doing that at 70?! I just love it.

Sami July 30, 2010 at 11:42 am

Awh!! He is adorable.

Good for you, Hol! Good luck in the 1/2 marathon!

Mallory July 30, 2010 at 11:44 am

this is going to sound weird no matter how i phrase it… but even from behind i’m pretty sure that is the cutest old man i’ve ever seen!

and CONGRATS on the half-marathon goal!
this is going to sound cliche no matter how i phrase it… but you’re definitely an inspiration – fitnessly (whatever it’s a word.. now…) and otherwise.

ps.. went to concert on the square on wednesday… is it weird that i was hoping to see you there? not in a creepy way, just in a celebrity-sighting kind of way. i’m going to stop talking now.

Adam July 30, 2010 at 12:05 pm

This is one of the coolest posts i have ever read. Seriously! I cannot get over the awesomeness that this guy must live everyday… You must be a pretty special person to deserve a pin from him! Just shows how important a smile can be, right? I hope you keep that forever and if i had some sort of woodland creature jump-roping pin to give you, i would! :)

Naomi(oneFF) July 30, 2010 at 12:59 pm

thats amazing. what a great post to read to kick off the weekend :)

Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) July 30, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Oh my. What a perfectly wonderful story, and I’m so glad you shared it with everyone. That man sounds so energetic and adorable.

I want to be just like him when I’m 70. :D

Diana @ frontyardfoodie July 30, 2010 at 6:22 pm

That is the cutest thing ever!!!! Totally sweet and adorable!

I’m inspired!

Jess July 30, 2010 at 9:09 pm

That’s SO CUTE!!

Susan August 1, 2010 at 5:40 pm

I love it!!! I can also concur that you have a wonderful big ole’ smile ;) However, I have never seen that form of exercise before…wonder if he made it up?

janetha g. August 3, 2010 at 5:05 pm

i love that cute old man!

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