When I’m 64

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It’s one of those rare vegetable kinds of nights where I don’t have anything specific and pressing to do and the night until now has been fairly young. It’s not that I don’t have anything to do – I’ve got lists but it’s just one of those nights that rather than start a task from the list that’ll whittle my night to nil, I’m doing the smart thing and procrastinating. My mom is out of town and she usually calls my grandmother nightly to check on her; my grandmother is 93 – and actually closer to 94 now she says. With a wide open evening I love to the familiar sound of my grandmother’s voice when she answers the phone.

No matter how old I get I can’t imagine a day when I wouldn’t find listening to my grandmother tell stories my most treasured past time. I could listen to her for hours- with repeated stories or new ones it doesn’t even matter. She has this soothing kind of voice, and after almost 94 years, she’s got more wisdom than any book. Her rich life experiences, thoughts about how things should be, and the strength that not much rattles mystifies me every time I talk to her. She’s probably the toughest person I’ve ever met and ever will hope to meet. My grandfather passed away over 25 years ago and she’s been independent since. There’s nothing that shakes her and her philosophy on life is just about as right as anybody’s ever could be.

Last month when I agonized over a decision, she told me what an old friend of hers used to say,”I told God I’ll do the work if you’ll do the worrying.” If only she would always make my decisions so simple. Tonight she told me to ‘take time to stop and smell the roses’ and then she asked, “Have you ever seen that guy who speeds past everybody else on the road? I know you don’t drive that way.” Immediately guilty, I ashamed and I’m glad that my grandmother wasn’t in the passenger seat next to me last night in between pedal to the metal to leave the PTO meeting, pick up from basketball practice, before picking up Chinese for dinner that wouldn’t be served until forty five minutes after the official bedtime hour. She continued,”Did you ever realize he arrives at about the same time as everybody else?” She’s right, of course, again. In our exchange of what’s going on back in the busy routine since we last saw each other at the lull of Christmas she says,”God puts you where he wants you then relax – nobody outside of you probably gives a hoot.”

Her insight is priceless- what she knows after almost a century. She said that after my grandfather passed away she hoped to live to 75, then once she reached 75 she raised her wish to 80. She said had she not lived this long she’d have missed out on an entire generation – all of her great grand children. My thought is they would have missed out on on her. I hope she lives until she’s 200 and then has the chance to come back and do it all again because she’s so good at it. When I grow up to 93, if my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren revere me half as much as we love her, then maybe I’ll finally have learned a thing or two.

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