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Winters Express
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Old girl or young thing — it’s all a state of mind

By Helen Hosier
At a luncheon with “best friends,” we were talking about our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I told about visiting my daughter and her married son and what one of her grandsons, Isaac, said to me. We were visiting my grandson at his country home, the ground was soggy from a recent rain, and when we got out of the car, Isaac said, “Be careful, Grandma Helen, we have bears around here and they eat old ladies.”
Surprised by my great-grandson’s warning, I groaned and replied, “Ohhh, old ladies…” and he, quickly recovering from his faux pas, said, “Oh, Grandma, they eat young girls, too.”
Sharing it with my friends who laughed, Pat said, “I have to tell you about my 5-year-old granddaughter who loved getting into my closet and trying on my high heels, but one day she stood alongside my dressing table while I applied my makeup. ‘Gran-gran,’ she said, ‘you really need to go to Neiman Marcus and get some of those creams that keep you from getting wrinkles.’”
Pat said she looked at her adorable little one and replied, “Oh, really! Okay, I’ll do that.”
Her granddaughter regarded her Gran-gran solemnly and then responded, “Gran-gran, I think it’s too late.” That kind of momentarily took the air out of Gran-gran!
Adding to the fun we were having telling about the verbal antics of these precocious little ones, Rogann chimed in, “Oh, let me tell you about my grandson. I was talking about getting senior discounts, and my little guy looked at me and said, ‘I didn’t know you were a senior, Grandma, I just thought you were an old girl!’”
Which brings me to the present. I stopped in at the Winters Express office to have a chat with Newt. We got into a discussion about age and I told him I had a January birthday coming and how old I would be.
“Oh, you’re still a young thing!”
Wow! Thanks Newt, you made my day!
Perspective! It makes a difference where you are coming from. I’m not certain who said it, it might have been Will Rogers, seems like something he would say, but the adage fits: “Age doesn’t matter, if you don’t mind!” So, a bit wrinkly, a senior, an old lady, an old girl, or still “a young thing,” it’s a state of mind and if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. Mind over matter — that seems to work well in one’s senior moments.
So the high heels have long gone out of the closet; sensible, safe shoes, still attractive, have replaced the others. And walking goes better with a cane or the rolling walker, and it’s pleasant when someone opens the door for you and shows respect.
“How nice,” I say as I thank them with a smile.
As for the creams? They’re working, and we are thankful for them. Truth be told, my friend was already using the Neiman products!
Being older requires some changes in long-held habits and attitudes, too. But we are hopefully doing it without being crabby or fussing too much. And if we are crotchety or a bit out-of-sorts at times, we ask for your indulgence — sometimes the wear and tear our bodies have sustained through the years finds us hurting.
We may have forgetful moments also, but don’t patronize us. We can do without condescension — that takes away our dignity. We’re still pretty sharp, maybe just a bit slower at times, so be patient with us and you’ll see how grateful we are for your thoughtfulness.
Some years ago I traveled up into what was still a remote area in Alberta, Canada, to get the story of an elderly woman whose son was a member of the Canadian Parliament. This gentleman met me at the Calgary airport and drove me into the Innisfail countryside. There we spent a pleasant afternoon with his mother. Her story became a chapter in one of my books entitled “Silhouettes: Women Behind Great Men.” On the wall of her living room was a plaque that read:
“Our lives are albums written through
With good or ill, false and true,
And, as the blessed angels turn
The pages of our years,
God grant they read
The good with smiles,
And blot the ill with tears.”
I left dear little Hannah Thompson with smiles as I blotted some tears and carried with me the memory of her standing in the doorway of the home she and her husband created out in the Canadian wilderness. Memories! She shared them, and I was the beneficiary of her well-lived life.
I heard a preacher quote a statement that had impacted his thinking: “If life had a second edition, I would correct the proof.” But we don’t get to do that! The thing to do is make this volume count.
“Through the years I have used these lines:
Life is like a book in volumes three –
The past, the present, and the yet-to-be.
The past is done and laid away,
The second we’re writing day by day,
But the third and last of the volumes three,
Is locked from sight,
God holds the key.”
I’m glad God holds the key, aren’t you? So we “write the pages” with our grandchildren’s and great-grandchildren’s darling comments cycling through our thoughts, providing smiles and joy. There’s much to be thankful for and my friends, Newt, and the “young ones” of our generation have lived through a lot, experienced many things, learned much, and have things to share and even possibly teach you from the storehouse of our memories.
So take advantage of our still being around, I think you will be pleasantly surprised. And if you want to open the door for me at Putah Creek Café, I’ll thank you kindly and give you a smile.