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Monday, April 27, 2015

Define Old Age

Photo of Julia Doles
April 2015

Sometimes you wake up thinking, “Well, I made it through another night.”  You are not seeing the sunshine filtering through your window or allowing the peaceful moment to fill your soul.  You spend too much time thinking about your aches and pains, your late relatives, and finances when you should be enjoying just being alive.

Then something, or someone, forces you to stop and take a good long look at yourself. That is what happened to me today. I was out to pick up a few things I needed and started to pass an elderly lady in one of the aisles of the market.  She opened a conversation by asking, “Can you reach that corn way up on the top there? I swear they picked me before I was done growing.”

The lady was about five feet tall with short white hair that was neatly brushed. She was dressed neatly and her eyes were ablaze with determination. As I handed her the can of corn I had just retrieved for her, she said, “My grandson is in here somewhere. He probably found magazines or something. Lord, he’s fifty years-old and you would think he was ready to retire. He spends an hour trying to avoid fifteen minutes of work.”

The grandson appeared at the end of the aisle and walked toward us. He stopped a few feet behind his grandmother as if waiting to see if she would invite him into the conversation or send him scampering outdoors to play. The petite, feisty lady continued, “My daughter, his mother, is a whiner too. Why she’s only seventy years-old and wouldn’t get out of bed if she didn’t get hungry. I tell you, it’s beyond my understanding to tell you what’s happened with the young folks today. I’m ninety-five and I go help her clean up her house at least once a week.”

I have lived most of my life as if I’m expecting some important guest and need to have my life in order before they arrive. I sweep the floors, bathe the pets, clean the windows, and would probably sweep the lawn if I could rid of some of the extra dirt. I never really think about why I do what I do, I just do it. I’m pretty sure this lady never stops to think about living either. She just does it!

I smiled at the lady, told her I was happy to have met her, and walked away feeling as if I had just been given a gift. The road of life can be very bumpy but people like the lady I met today not only help me navigate the road, they pull me back into the right lane of traffic. I sure hope her family makes sure she is well praised this coming Mother’s Day.

© Dianna Doles Petry


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