We’ve always heard that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I agree. And, for me, OLD has also been through my eyes. My grandparents were very OLD. I first remember Granny when she was around 60. Short, with gray hair pulled back in a bun, dark ankle length dresses, cotton stockings, black oxfords and an everyday apron. That was during the week. Sundays it was a black dress with white lace collar and a white apron. No makeup. She was on her feet all day. Cooking, cleaning, gardening, canning. And she hummed. Sweet Hour of Prayer and Higher Ground were her favorites. She didn’t make idle conversation. I don’t remember ever seeing her reading. In the evening, she sat in her rocker beside her basket of mending, darning socks, turning collars, patching knees, sewing buttons. She went to bed early. She was widowed in her late fifties, during the height of the Great Depression. She lived with Mother and Daddy the rest of her days. Times were hard. I look at her old age and compare it to mine. And I certainly was not OLD at 60! Those good old days weren’t all that good.
Mother and Daddy weren’t old. They were in their mid-thirties. Just middle aged! Some of our preachers were OLD. They had gray hair. But they could still eat the best pieces of fried chicken when invited to Sunday dinner after church. Some of the people we knew were successful, for the times, and had a dignity and a bearing that kept them from being just plain OLD. We admired them. Just plain OLD was for the common working class, those who had never had and never would have. This viewpoint was through the eyes of a child.
School days saw a mix of teachers. Young and energetic who played games with us, older but still active and some retirement age. Each had their strengths. Some of the older teachers loved history and would tell great stories of Revolutionary and Civil War battles. Many of us appreciated their stories and that they were OLD. Then there were those who didn’t seem to appreciate anything! And, truth be told, I wish I had listened more closely. I wasn’t old enough to realize the importance of learning and remembering.
There was a time when doctors, dentists, judges and pastors were older than I. I respected their age and wisdom. Then I started catching up with them in birthdays. I had trusted everything my doctor told me. I still do, for the most part, but I’m not above googling a second opinion. As for dental work, I measure my life expectancy against any major procedures. And judges? I avoid going before one, I don’t care how old they are. And pastors? They age fast. And they get a lot of practice and they retire before they’re my age. But there’s something about them. If God has called them and given them a message for me, I should listen even if it’s the same Old, Old story and I’ve read the Book. I sometimes have the unsettling feeling that when each of these looks at me they see just another OLD woman. I don’t want them to just see another
OLD woman. I want them to see me. A living breathing human being created in the image of God – not 9/14/32, 210 White Heron Drive.
More important to me than how doctors, lawyers, and Indian chiefs see me, is how my children see me. I want them to see the mother who loved their dad, and who beside him did her best to give them a happy healthy childhood, and a sound set of values. Who loves the ones they’ve chosen to add to our family and who is proud of their children and grandchildren. I want them to see the Mom I’ve always been.