“stay young by continuing to grow. you do not grow old, you become old by not growing.” (wilferd a. peterson – the art of living)
we would like to be like frank. he will be 90 this month and his busy life could make many people feel like couch potatoes. he is interested and curious and makes himself available to volunteer for a wide variety of organizations. he is our go-to excuse for sipping apothic – “it’s such a drinkable wine,” he says. he’s not afraid to try new things. the art of staying young – he has this down pat.
today is eileen’s birthday. she is 100. one hundred. it’s quite the life you’ve lived when you were born in 1923 and it is now 2023. always interested, she loves the chicago tribune. her desk has stacks of issues, piles of stories she has read or, at this stage of health, it counts to even just simply touch the newsprint. 20 talks to her about current events, encourages her to think, to discern, to learn – even at 100.
we celebrated her birthday with butter-creme-heavily-frosted layered chocolate birthday cake, hyacinth and tulips, catered sliders and quesadillas and apothic. frank would have approved. we studied boards with photographs of a little girl named eileen, eileen and duke as young marrieds, the sassy and spirited and fashionista eileen, a mother named eileen, a grandmother. i’m certain it seems to her now that the 100 years have flown by, for indeed that’s how time is. as she was wheeled into the party room her words were boisterous, “i made it!”
my own sweet momma would be 102 this year and my dad 103. my dad always said he was going to be 100. he did not make it. he died when he was 91. my mom never stated those aspirations but she, as well, was not a centenarian, crossing planes at almost-94. my dad, never one to turn down any dessert would have devoured a big slice of eileen’s cake. and my mom would have sat at the table with eileen asking questions and telling stories. i wish we were also having their cakes, most definitely chocolate ganache, but soon now those crossing-over anniversaries will come again and i will burn candles and blow kisses into the universe.
it’s all a mystery, this life. how long we get to live it, how many desserts, how many sips of toasting wine. seems like – once again – there’s no time to waste.
maybe today is a good day for some cake.
“tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” (mary oliver)
read DAVID’s thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY