One Day: Sherman McMichael
Published 9:43 pm Sunday, June 24, 2018
On a typical weekday, Sherman McMichael, a retired office and supply manager for the Harrodsburg Herald, makes dozens of people smile.
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You can always pick him out from the other residents at McDowell Place. He’s the one who always carries a camera around his neck. He’s always making jokes and laughing, and he’s probably the tallest person in the building.
Sherman turned 85 just last week and says he tells people, “I’m just an old, ugly, bald-headed man. What you see is what you get!”
In a Facebook post on his birthday, June 19, Sherman wrote, “This afternoon I went to Wellness Center to exercise my leg on the nu-step machine and saw this PEST CONTROL truck … I think the owner heard it was my birthday and thought McDowell Place wanted to use his services … to get rid (of) me, THE PEST. lol”
Sherman spends a lot of time writing for his 4-page monthly newsletter, “A Mixed Bag of News” in which he shares inspirational sayings, “crazy, funny” things he’s seen on social media and incidents that happen at McDowell Place. Sometimes he includes small photos he’s taken at different events, or of people he’s fond of.
“I just enjoy writing it. I think the people here enjoy it.”
Sherman said, “The world has a lot of lonesome people in it. If (the newsletter) brightens their day, it’s a big boost to me.”
The newsletters are distributed at McDowell Place and he mails them to about 80 families across the country who want to keep up with the news.
Sherman walks with a cane now, ever since his knee gave out a few months ago. He likes to keep to a schedule — eat breakfast, exercise, do computer work, take photos, eat lunch, take photos, exercise, take photos …
He loves to visit with other residents at McDowell Place.
In his room, Sherman logs onto Facebook often and checks out what his friends and family are doing, and he keeps up with his email.
Walking down the hall on his way outside, Sherman leans down to tease an old friend who’s sitting in a chair. “I know him from way back,” she says.
Sherman only walks a few feet more when Marianne Kirby stops him. “He’s my buddy,” she says. “He takes pictures of my puzzles to send to the people who gave them to me.”
When Sherman gets to the rocking chair outside, he immediately lifts his camera and starts taking pictures of the birds pecking around a feeder.
“I like to sit outside in the sun and walk around. That’s where I get a lot of my pictures from — birds, ducks, squirrels, rabbits.” He also watches people and takes photos of them waving at him from the parking lot or when they’re doing activities inside.
“I make lots of pictures everyday. I enjoy it.”
In between writing the newsletter, taking photos and posting on Facebook, Sherman stays busy playing bingo and is a member of the drama club. They practice skits, but thankfully they don’t have to memorize lines, he said, laughing — that would be too hard to do.
After a few practices, the group likes to perform their skits for other residents, and sometimes take the show on the road to the senior citizens centers in Boyle, Lincoln and Mercer counties.
“The get a kick out of it. That makes it worth while.”
Sherman changes the subject and talks about one time an elderly lady who lived at McDowell Place loved playing bingo, but her eyesight was preventing her from having fun. She couldn’t play on her own, he says. So he sat next to her and and helped by moving her hand to the right spot. “Oh, she loved to win. She really loved to win.”
Sherman says, “I helped her enjoy life.”
At lunchtime, Sherman walks to the eating area and before helping his table partner take a seat, Sherman whispers, “He’s got a short memory but a sharp mind. We have fun and we laugh.”
Sherman says he wants to help everyone enjoy life a little more. “I don’t know anything more valuable.”