As my last day at work nears (I am being laid off because our entire operations is being shut down), I will no longer be taking that earlier morning commute on the BART train from the Lake Merritt station in Oakland to Pleasanton. Part of what I am going to miss about that routine is my morning chat with a sweet elderly woman named Gertrude. She waited to catch the train to Fremont while I waited for my train. Our chats will last about 10 minutes on the average depending on which of our trains would arrive first ( Generally, it was hers). Our topics will range from family to politics. Gertrude was originally from Austria and moved to the United States many years ago. She is a fiercely independent woman and has remained single all her life. Her mind is still very sharp and she has strong opinions about everything. I have enjoyed our discussions. Despite all that spirited discussion, what comes through is a very caring and loving person. There’s been many a time that she has brought me some goodies to eat and to take back to the office. She always asks about my children and Gary. She has shared with me stories of the ravages of war and family. Through her eyes I have learned about her youth, her loves and her dreams. Her life has become my lessons. I realized that I have appreciated her advice and friendship. She has offered some good wisdom and support these past years. I realized that even though we will still keep in some sort of contact, things will not be the same after my last day of work. I will miss this old lady. People come into our lives and influence us for good even for only 10 minutes a day. Gertrude will always be a part of the story of my life.