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Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we’re kids? If you’re less than 10 years old, you’re so excited about aging that you think in fractions.

“How old are you?” “I’m four and a half!” You’re never thirty-six and a half. You’re four and a half, going on five! That’s the key.

You get into your teens, now they can’t hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead.

“How old are you?” “I’m gonna be 16!” You could be 13, but hey, you’re gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life . . . you become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony . . . YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!!!

But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There’s no fun now, you’re Just a sour-dumpling. What’s wrong? What’s changed?

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you’re PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it’s all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone.

But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn’t think you would!

So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60.

You’ve built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it’s a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday!

You get into your 80s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn’t end there. Into the 90s, you start going backwards; “I Was JUST 92.”

Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. “I’m 100 and a half!” May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!

1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay “them “

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” And the devil’s name is Alzheimer’s.

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it’s family, pets,
keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable,
improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9 Don’t take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next
county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

And if you don’t send this to at least 8 people – who cares?

But do share this with someone. We all need to live life to its fullest each day

A mother becomes a true grandmother the day she stops noticing the terrible things her children do because she is so enchanted with the wonderful things her grandchildren do.  – Lois Wyse

For the past several years my mother has been a grandmother – and what a wonderful grandmother she is. I love watching her with my nephews, Parker, 6, and Freddie, 4, and niece, Carolyne, almost 2, and especially with my own sons who are older.  No matter the grandchild she is with, it is neat to see Mother with her “Grandma Smile” on.

Like my sons, nephews, and niece, I was blessed with a wonderful grandmother. I don’t think there was a kinder, wittier and more involved grandmother who lived. Of course, I have to be careful as my mother is so much like her own mother in the grandma department. When I was born in September 1964, I had young and unused grandparents – Grandma Donna was 40 and Grandpa Leroy almost 43. My uncles, Ron and Tom, were 12 and 10 years older than me. In many respects, it was like having second parents and older brothers who lived around the corner from where I grew up.

I think I got my sense of humor from my grandmother (and grandfather), and my love for practical jokes (which has been a family standard for several generations!).  As a child I spent a great deal of time with Grandma Donna while Mother worked at Dr. Wirth’s office. We would bake (something I still cannot do well) in her kitchen and she would tell me the family stories and our history. In warm weather she would ride me on her bike out to watch the high school Panther Band practice their Indiana State Fair competition show. We also spent a good deal of time with her parents, Grandpa Garrett and Grandma Belle. Grandma Belle was like an older version of Grandma Donna, and from all I gathered, Grandma Donna’s grandmother, Grandma Jones, was not any different.

My mother comes from a long line of wonderful grandmothers who have a special place in the hearts of their grandchildren.

When I was in the 7th grade, we learned that my grandmother had chronic lymphatic leukemia. I was apprehensive at first but soon came around after Grandma, during a visit to the family cemetery, laid down behind her pre-planned head stone and asked, “Do you think I will fit?” After that, I learned how to incorporate humor into any of life’s darker moments.

Grandma Donna (and Grandpa Leroy) never missed any of my minor/little league baseball games, parades, band contests, the junior high/high school concerts, the Elwood Variety Show, Ball State football games, Ball State Singer Spectaculars, BSU Chamber and Concert Choir concerts… like Mother, they were there for everything. Each time I left for overseas with a Ball State ensemble, they were there at the loading dock to wave us off.

The Spring of 1992, Grandma seemed to battle one infection after another. One morning in June, she completed crocheting me an afghan for Christmas.  That night at the dinner table, she collapsed and was hospitalized. We soon discovered she had cancer of the colon (or liver) and would not recover. For those two weeks we surrounded her bed with funny family stories and other general talk as though she was wide awake and conversing with us. Mother had the horrible decision to make, and on Saturday morning, June 27th, we gathered around her bed one last time. The life support was removed and we stood for several hours – but her heart continued to beat. Finally, it was recommended that the ventilator be removed. The pulse began a gradual descent. Everyone said their farewells. I was the last. I leaned over and whispered, “I’ll see you later… my first Tony Award is for you. I love you.” Then, while kissing her forehead and holding her hand, I heard my cousin Debbie cry, “She’s gone.”

In so many ways, it was a beautiful moment. That minute transition between life and the life beyond is filled with so much mystery, yet so much natural beauty. Saying “goodbye” to my grandmother was probably the most difficult farewell I have endured. The sad thing for me today is that Grandma Donna is not physically present for my sons, my nephews, and my niece to know personally.  But, I honestly believe there is a part of Grandma Donna in each of them, just as she is in my brother, Destin, and I, and our mother.

Wherever you are tonight, Grandma… thank you! And I haven’t forgotten my last promise!

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July 2005
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