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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Just Because

I have brought up many times here the fact that I am turning the big 40 in April and I have reached the point to where I am actually looking forward to it.  I was inspired to look forward to it even more so on Sunday when Darin's Great Aunt Edie came by to pay us a visit. 

I was exiting the pew at church when I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder and turned to see Mrs. Edie's smiling face.  She is a classy, full-of-spunk-cheer-and-energy kind of lady and has the best southern drawl of anyone I know. 

I first met her about seventeen years ago when Darin and I were just dating and was immediately drawn to her, as I am sure most people are. She was already widowed by the time I met her and always spoke very fondly of her husband, Jack, and how much they had loved to travel together after he retired as an engineer. She even managed to do quite a bit of it on her own, after his death.

She once drove herself and about three of her older widowed sisters out west, all in their seventies or eighties at the time, and they "just had the best time!" We lovingly began referring to them as The Traveling Widows.

Darin and I went over to visit her once in 1996 when she had just gotten back from a road trip she went on "all by herself" to follow around the Olympic torch just because the Olympic games were in Atlanta that year.  She was over the moon telling us about it, along with how much fun she had with the ladies of the Red Hat Society she belonged to. And I, all of twenty-five at the time, decided right then and there that I wanted to be exactly like Aunt Edie if and when I was ever lucky enough to be that age one day, a cool old lady with a zest for life and a big red hat. 

She had the idea a few years back to begin an annual 4th of July parade here in the town of Maiden and it has been taking place on Main Street every 4th of July since, and to the best of my knowledge she is always there, decked from head to toe in her finest patriotic attire.

So, when I turned to see that it was her who had tapped me on the shoulder at church Sunday, I was absolutely delighted.  She began by telling me that she had no idea we had moved until she saw the return address on our Christmas card.  She said she knew where our street was and that she'd just love to come visit us some time. I told her I would love for her to and she asked, "Well, are you going to be home today?!"  I told her we'd be home later after we ate at Momaw Pat's.  

By the time we got home from the ER, after Dracen's little stunt gone wrong, I assumed we had probably missed her if she had come by. But the doorbell rang about 5:30, shortly after we got home, and there she stood on the front porch with that great big warm smile on her face and a container full of cinnamon rolls she'd picked up at the Food Lion, explaining how she'd wanted to get us some flowers but they were all sold out so she decided on the cinnamon rolls.  

We sat in the sunroom and chatted with her for a little while and she told us about how she and Jack had lived in California for awhile for his job back in the 70s and about how much she just loved it there! She said she was always ready for a road trip and never said no at the opportunity to GO. She also talked about how she and her daughter, Brenda, drove all the way to Texas once just because they'd heard the flowers were beautiful there that time of year and just wanted to go see it for themselves.   

She then told us about a crazy little run-in she'd had at the doctor's office recently and how she flat out told them how absolutely ridiculous and absurd their policy was. She said that when you get to be her age, you feel you've earned the right to just say what's on your mind! Well I, for one, could not agree more. 

I knew she was in her eighties but I didn't know exactly how old she was so I just asked her and she practically beamed when she answered, "Ohhh, I'll be NINETY!"  "What?!" Charlie and I blurted in unison. "No way! When is your birthday?", I asked.  She answered, "Oh, it's not until December but I'm already telling everybody I'll be ninety this year!" 

"What is your secret?", I had to ask.  She said that she has simply always lived by the motto to "take care of your body and it will take care of you when you're old".  She said she's never been a drinker or smoker, never eaten a lot of meat and has always kept a close eye on her weight, and that any time she has seen the scale go up a pound or two, she has gotten it right off.  

Simple, right?  

By the time she got ready to leave it was dark and Charlie and I both thought about the driveway.  It's a bit long with an awkward little slight curve and a brick wall that runs along one side of it, with some very large oak trees on the other side. He started to warn her about it but she was way ahead of the game.  She had scoped things out when she got here and decided it would be best if she went ahead and turned her car around so all she had to do was drive straight out. 

Gotta love her.

Did I mention how much I'm looking forward to turning forty this year?  

Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter. ~Mark Twain


  1. She is sharp, and I can only hope I'll be the same at that age! What a cool little visit!

  2. Wow, very cool.

    I wish I didn't have to eat a lot of meat, but I do.

  3. Happy Almost 40th Birthday! :-)

    I love the Mark Twain quote :-)

    Take care and have a great week :-)


  4. I want to grow up to be like her!

  5. What a wonderful story. I love being inspired by older women who are holding it together. Aging with grace is indeed possible.

  6. I want to be her when I grow up!