by Ruth Anne Wood

My friend Lutz (82) strung up and tuned my new violin the day it arrived in mid-December 2020. He started playing violin as a boy in Germany and smuggled it out of his birthplace. He still plays in an orchestra, folk song society and Gilbert & Sullivan shows.

We had him over every Wednesday for dinner  from March until July 2020 for our meditation zoom call. Then we exchanged stories during a delicious dinner my husband, Jason, prepared while we were on our call.

The day I got my violin our mutual friend Julie (42) and Lutz (82) played a violin concert in our living room with music that ranged from “Handel’s Messiah” to “100 Years” by Five for Fighting.

Lutz who has lived alone since his divorce in 1975 said he was more worried about dying from loneliness than COVID. It was very hard months not seeing people in person or playing with others and sitting rows apart wearing masks during their virtual, string concert.

I do my best to honor my friend asking him about his favorite sayings we call Luztisms. Full of more energy, socializing and hope then most people half his age, I still giggle thirty years into our friendship when Lutz Mueller asks me, “What’s profound?” every time we see each other. Or, after a good meal he pats his belly and says he’s a “substantial citizen.” He doesn’t take enough credit for his wisdom and says he’s just medium brilliant, though he is a voracious reader of science, world affairs, social behavior and old and modern tribes.

Though I’ve heard many of his jokes and stories repeatedly, I still learn something new and love the exchange.

One day I joked with him that if I went before him, we should have a signal to let the other know if we were visiting.

In mid-2020 our mutual friend Rick, who was a year younger than Lutz and shared Lutz’s birthday, passed after not fully recovering from a broken hip and isolation during COVID. It was an unfortunate example of what happens when one person doesn’t get enough human interaction and TLC.

I love having Lutz as an honorary uncle who checks up on me and vice versa.


Ruth Anne Wood has a handful of senior gems that she takes time to call or visit. They might have even inspired her novel and screenplay, “Sophie In Reverse” about the age reversing grandmother who does Tibetan Rites yoga and is eventually the model of the first city modeled after the DNA of one person.

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