Ask cool questions, you get cool answers. That was totally the mantra playing in the background of my interaction with Steve.

My roommate, girlfriend, and I wandered into Zeno’s Pub to have a beer and play some pool. The place was relatively empty with scattered chatter. When I was about halfway through losing miserably, a man appeared in the doorway. He looked to be around 65 (not the typical age for a college bar), and he sort of just walked up next to us and stood there.  

Lots of people might be inclined to label Steve as holy-smokes-creepy. And I almost did the same. But that mantra was playing in the background. And the bag slung around his shoulder offered me a perfect opportunity. So I ventured a not so average question: “hey there, got anything interesting in the bag?”

Judging by his quizzical look, he was just a bit confused by the risky question. But lo and behold, Steve replied, “well, I’ve got an Iroquois flute.”

My mind is exploding with pleasant surprise at this point. “Really? Tell me the story behind that.”

Steve went on to explain how he read a book on the Iroquois when he was a kid and ever since he has been carving his own flutes. We had a pretty deep exchange about me and Katie’s time spent living on an Ojibwe reservation in northern Minnesota. I offered to connect him to the person who led that trip, Bruce. And we parted ways.

I was left thinking, “dang that 65-year old guy in a college bar is freaking awesome.” A very different feeling than my first impression.

Chad Littlefield, 
Penn State Student

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