We were walking down an aisle at Lowe's on our way out when Jo Ann and I met Wendell. We noticed his pleasant smile at the same time we read his tag identifying him as a store employee.

Wendell seemed a bit past the age of retirement, so I tried to be funny by asking him if he was working this way through college. To show you how nice a guy he is, he didn't hold that against me. We had a very pleasant time listening to a five-minute version of his life story.

That required quite a bit of condensing, since it turned out that Wendell celebrated his 90th birthday earlier this year. He and his wife also observed their 70th wedding anniversary. It also turned out that he is one of a rapidly dwindling group of World War II veterans, having proudly served in the Navy in the South Pacific.

His memory was as clear as his smile was engaging as he talked about his wife, their daughter and his time in the service. Equally clear was his gratitude to God for his family, his safe conduct through the war, his life and the gift of still keeping busy at age 90.

My only regret was that I didn't thank Wendell for his military service, especially two days before Veterans Day. Actually, I owe him a second debt of gratitude - for reminding me that thankfulness to God will keep a soul young at any age.

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Our soul can live forever in God's love.