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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Who's Old?!



I had to laugh at my daughter’s remarks about me in a recent blog, saying I am 77 ½ !  Dang tootin’ and proud of it.   When I want something from a stranger, I sometimes say I am nearly 80. Doesn’t work with the older members of my family tho’ cause most are older than I am. Just saw an ad on Facebook that said, Stop Aging! Is that a nice way of saying”Drop Dead” ?

 I used to know a very pretty woman, in Augusta, who, when we returned after being away for 20 years, looked exactly the same as before. She was at least one year ahead of me at UGA so I know generally how old she is. Anyway, when we encountered her and her husband at dinner one night, I did about three double takes. When I mentioned this to someone, they said, next time look at her hands. Well, yippee! Her hands looked as old as mine. That gal could wear gloves – and not look a day over 75!

Much good can be said about getting older, for instance, it “beats the alternative.” My main quarrel with it is the “last illness.” Why can’t we just draw a number that gives a final day and that’s that! Let’s see, Elva, you are leaving earth on  March third so on March second, be sure to eat lots of chocolate and tell that crabby ol’ guy down the street to kiss your foot.

You know, there really is no typical old person any more than there is a typical young or middle aged person. All have different sets of values, backgrounds, personalities etc. My mother used to describe certain women as ”sweet ol’ ladies.” Well, I’ll give you a clue. If they were not sweet young ladies, they are less than sweet old ladies. In fact, some mean young women turn into real ogres. (No, I am not describing myself. I’ve always been this way…)

There are many factors that go into making a person’s personality. Just one of those is geography. I don’t remember if ol’ Frood , as my actually very intelligent aunt used to call him, ever figured that one out. Having grown up in the south and being raised by southern parents and grandparents, I was taught certain rules that were just absolutely not to be broken. Those rules were pretty basic, and boiled down , were mostly about kindness. In almost all instances, you can say what you need to say to someone without being caustic. Quite often, what you feel you need to say is just that you want to vent your feelings and let that person know you think they are stupid…..  as in, “ what were you thinking of , don’t you know better, why on earth would you do ----- , etc etc etc”.

Southern customs , to my way of thinking, are just easier to swallow. Almost within the first month I’d lived in  TN, I attended, a parents meeting at my children’s school. As we were walking down the hall afterwards, several of us were chatting. One woman said her husband worked at Oak Ridge. Brightly, I asked ”Oh, is he a scientist?” This woman who three minutes earlier, had been quite lovely, turned on me and snarled through her nose,  “A scientist? A scientist!? What exactly is a scientist, blah blah blah.” I was so taken aback, I turned and quickly walked in the opposite direction. One of her friends caught up with me and related that the woman was annoyed that people were so sloppy in their use of the word “scientist.” Oh, OK, but that’s not my problem, I wanted to say. I carefully avoided that nasal sharp tongue for the rest of the time our kids were in the same school. I tend to go for the jugular when I lose my temper so I refused to let that heifer’s superior attitude set me off. 

Anyway, I am glad I live in the south, and I plan to die here, but not for a long time...