Every year, at least once, Debbie and I have lunch with Edith. We have been doing this for a number of years. Now, I have known Edith all of my life. Edith and her husband were close friends of my grandparents. After my grandmother died, my grandfather remarried. His second wife died around the same time as Edith’s husband. Next thing we know, these two are hooking up and decided to get married. My grandfather put it this way, at this point in their lives, they both have known each other a long time, have many shared memories, have traveled together and have enjoyed the time they shared. They were a cute couple, always walking hand in hand and they did enjoy being together until my grandfather died.
Who is the oldest person that you know? I do not mean met in passing, but actually know? I remember as a child thinking that our grandparents were old (in their 60’s or 70’s). As a young adult, there used to be a local weatherman that would give a shout out to someone when they reached 100. In 2010, the US census record over 53,364 centenarians. In 1990, there were 37,306 centenarians and in 1950, only 2,300. My father is 80 years old, an age that when I was a child I did not know anyone that lived “that long.” My mother and both of my grandmothers died in their 60s. Today, it is common to know someone in his or her 80s.
After lunch, we went back to Edith’s apartment where she played a song that she has been learning on the piano. Yes, she plays piano and looks forward to her weekly lessons. She then asked me to play for her. In the middle of one of the songs, Edith was up singing and dancing along. It is great to see Edith healthy, happy, still living life with a great positive attitude, able to walk around and crack jokes. Oh yeah, Edith is 96 years young and planning to be around for many more years.
We all come across many people, who are younger and less healthy, and some that are younger, healthy, but miserable. As we get older, we unfortunately lose some of our abilities, are not as spry as we once were and might need some help in getting around. Having a positive attitude, believing that when life hands you lemons, you can make lemonade is preferable over the less positive feelings. Edith still has out her favorite and most inspirational book, “The Power of Positive Thinking,” by Norman Vincent Peale. I lift my glass to glass – Here’s to an inspiration to living a long and happy life. As the old Jewish blessing goes, עד מאה ועשרים שנה; "Ad Mayah Ve-essrim Shana", May you live until 120.