As we age ‘old’ seems young to us

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 29, 2019

I was puzzled because my mother called some friends she had not seen in ages “That boy and girl.” I now understand. Although they were her age, she remembered them as they were when they were all young. It looks to me the older we get, the younger “old” seems to us. I was blessed to have both sets of my grandparents for many years. I loved them dearly, but they seemed ancient to me.

My aunt told me that she was waiting for my uncle after Sunday school in the hall of the education building of her church. She saw a man coming down a flight of stairs in the distance. “Why that old man looks like Bruce,” she told herself. As he got closer, she realized “that old man” was her husband. Bruce. It was shocking to her. They had been married forty-five years, and seeing him with eyes of love, she had never looked upon him as an “old man.”

I had a similar experience when a young friend of mine referred to my daddy as “an old man.” Daddy was in his early seventies at that time. I had never thought of him as old. To me, he was my beloved daddy who took me with him to Birmingham Barons’ baseball games, comforted me when I skinned my knees, hugged me tight when he got home from work and saved me a sip of his ice cold Sunday morning soda..

These days some of my best friends are in their eighties and nineties. One of the most beloved ladies in my church has celebrated her 104thbirthday. She amazes me with her sharp mind, her lovable nature and her determination to attend weekly Sunday school and worship services, Bible study and participation in a Prayer group. Only sickness or being out of town keeps her away.

It is interesting how youngsters look at age. Years ago when my four-year old grandchild visited my husband and me, she turned to my mother at the noon meal. “You’d better not eat that food because old people shouldn’t have that,” she said. We were all surprised by her remark. My mother quickly countered with, “Who told you I am old?” She was a little taken aback since she was very active for her age.

That incident made us think of something that happened years before when Mother was enjoying the company of a little girl. Her parents moved to an apartment at Mother’s house. when the child was an infant. Then she was five and. felt quite at home at Mother’s. Sitting in an easy chair in the living room one day, she turned her head from side to side, scanning the room. Then she said to Mother, “When you get old,” she paused.”You’re old now, “she declared, “but when you get really old, I want you to leave this house to me.”It amused Mother but she embarrassed her parents.

For a long time when someone mentioned I might be getting old, I asked myself how could I be getting old when my mother was the youngest person I knew?