There’s a teenager I know who recently turned 92 years old. You have to do a double take when you learn her age because she looks twenty years her junior.
Her hair is grey, with a smidgen of blue from her hair coloring. She walks with a little limp, not much, just enough to know that her hip bothers her sometimes, even though I’ve never heard her say a word about it. She has lines of time’s grace around her eyes and cheeks, and her hands and fingers show the wear of work over the years. She is inoverall great health for her age, and her level of life zeal and energy spunk only seems to happen once in a blue moon for any one in their golden years. She’s hopeful. She’s light hearted. She’s refreshing. She is truly, remarkable!
When you talk with this mature 92 year old kid, she looks you straight in the eye, and you can’t escape her gaze! You just can’t! Her sparkling, bright blue eyes catch and hold you. I don’t know how, but somehow there’s extra life in those eyes! They dance with amusement in conversation. They shine mischievous gleams that flicker through. A playful expression starts in the pupils of her eyes and spreads across her face. By simply raising an eye brow while pursing her lips, she can bring out hearty laughter from everyone around her.
Her eyes can be very telling too, almost intense. Her eyes are like the computer screen you see, but behind the screen are lightening fast computer chips calculating and deciphering every bit of the data! She’s a sharp cookie!
Maybe it’s natural discernment, or just experience, or maybe simply wisdom, but she sees right through people. She’ll size them up, and down, not just for what she sees, but what she hears, and probably more importantly, what she doesn’t see or hear.
She’s careful with her words when it comes to people’s feelings, but if it’s one of those playful moments, then mercy sakes alive! Beware! She can cut up and tease with the best of them, and she’ll let you have it!
She has a definite confidence and no matter the opponent, can render herself a worthy match. Her mind is sharp. Her sense of humor is even sharper. She’s quick to smile and quicker to verbally wrangle.
On the other hand, on important matters she always has an opinion. Always. She usually keeps it to herself, so if you want to know what she really thinks, you’ll have to coax it out of her bit by bit, spoon by spoon.
I often tell her the Sheriff is looking for her. She never answers the same….. “Well I did it, but they can’t prove it”, or “They’ve been looking for me for years”, or “At least I won’t have to cook in jail”, or “If he’s tall, dark and handsome, tell him where I live!”
She still lives independently in her own house and drives around town in a souped up Honda mini-van. I checked her car one day when a check engine light came on. She had every gadget known to man-kind on that car! I told her how nice her van was.
“I know!”, she said. “Aren’t all those buttons pretty? I don’t know what most of them do, but I like impressing the kids!!”
A few years back a hurricane blew through. I stopped the next day to check on her and she was already out in her yard picking up limbs and branches wearing sandals, a t-shirt and a pair of black pajama bottoms with big red hearts all over them. She immediately started patting her hair saying her power was still off and she couldn’t do a thing with her hair. She looked at my lack of hair and added, “But I guess you know what that’s like already”. OK, that’s just funny!
There’s something about playful spunk, coupled with kindness, in someone in their golden years. It feels good, and right, to be around people like that.
And it’s true that older people can sometimes get away with things others can’t. Someone younger, pretty much any age younger, can come across as prideful, cutting or arrogant. But the vitality and sense of humor in a 92 year old woman is just plain cute, albeit completely irreverent at times.
She summed it up one day when we stopped to talk in a church house hallway. “When you’re my age, you can say what you want and get away with it.” I laughed and agreed.
Pushing past me toward the Ladies’ room, she blurted, “Now, get out of my way Sweetheart! I gotta go to the pot!!”
A cheerful heart is good medicine… Proverbs 17:22a