Great-auntie’s picture

I love old people. Granted, “old” is a subjective term. Even I can’t put a number on it. When I was growing up, several of my friends thought 30 was positively ancient. I never did, and it seems younger than ever now that I’ve hit it. 40 is looking pretty spring-chicken-ish now, too.

“Old,” to me, is when you get old enough that you just don’t care anymore. When you think you’re old enough to say whatever you want to say, and people will let you get away with it because of your age, you’re old.

I was truly blessed to have four grandparents when I was growing up. My father’s mother passed away before I was born, but I still had his dad. My mother’s parents got divorced around the time I was born, but I still had both of them. And then my grandpa met a lovely woman that he’s been with for the last twenty-five (or more) years. Thus, my four grandparents, even though one of them was no blood relation at all.

When I got married, I inherited my husband’s grandmother, so my total was up to five. But, I also inherited his great-aunt and great-uncle, his grandmother’s sister and her husband. Great-uncle has since passed, but great-aunt is still around. She’s in her nineties now, and she cracks me up. She’s every bit the lady. She wears dresses or pantsuits, always has her hair fixed, wears make-up and jewelry. She’s absolutely lovely. But she has definitely hit “old.”

We went to see her a little more than a year ago at her home. I’m not sure if they call it an assisted-living facility or not, but it’s a whole complex of apartments for people who are definitely old enough to collect Social Security. They have a gym (which makes me giggle a little), a movie theater, a restaurant, a pool, and they do tons of activities that the residents can sign up for.

On this particular visit, Auntie was telling us about one of those activities. They had asked residents to sign up to be in their new calendar. She had signed up for it. The staff at the complex took pictures of different residents, and then used Photo Shop to put them into the calendar. She gave us a copy of the calendar, and I started flipping through it. There she was, smiling away, wearing a swimsuit and “surfing.” My eyebrows almost jumped off my forehead.

She knew I had found the picture of her. Smiling, she said, “It’s funny, isn’t it? I spent more than fifty years telling my husband that he’d better not dare take a picture of me in a bathing suit. Now, I volunteered for it.” All I could do was laugh, hug her, and say “Good for you.”

I love old people.

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