“It’s a sin to look so good at 70!” That is what my neighbor friend Lois called me next door to see.
“Sue,” she said on the phone. “Come over here and see what my sister got me for my birthday.” Out the door I went and she met me half-way across the front yard, sporting and showing-off her new t-shirt her sister gave her for her birthday.
It is true. She really did look good for 70. She still does, today, about five years or so later. She called me to wish me a happy birthday, for I have reached the same number in age this year.
I asked her how her t-shirt was. She said it was a little faded. I told her that what was important was that it was the t-shirt fading, not her.
Not her, indeed. We were neighbors in North Carolina for just a couple of short years, but we became close-knit friends. We didn’t spend that much time together, really, because we were busy with our businesses and gone from home long hours each day. But she and Jim moved into the home next to ours shortly after we had arrived, and together with Terry, the builder of both homes and his wife Judy who lived across the street from both of us, we were just good old “drop-in” neighbors, who shared some special times together.
Now the three homes are owned by others. I wonder if they built the same type of community we easily formed over a very short period of time. Somehow, I suspect not, but I could be wrong.
Lois, far from fading, had to be on the move…..always. She and I sometimes walked the neighborhood road together. Then, when I was away managing a fitness business, she would be on hiking trails, on kayaking ventures, and I don’t even know what else. If Jim was outside, you would find him mowing grass on his John Deere tractor or sitting on his front porch thinking about things. But Jim was most comfortable inside around the poker table. Lois needed the fresh air….and action!
Or a good joke; and she and Jim had plenty of those.
Today, Terry and Judy live in Wales, his homeland, we returned four years ago to our Michigan family area, and after Jim’s death, Lois returned to her beloved upstate New York home where she owns a cabin at the top of a long, wind-ey and steep hill in the Finger Lakes area on, none other than…..”Lois Lane”, of course.
A regular hiker in the summertime, she adds the snow shoes for her winter treks. Today, she told me she went to the sports store just to look at cross country skiis. She came home with the whole package and was probably going to be too busy skiing later to call and wish me a happy birthday.
She is in love with her Irish Notre Dame team who have gone unbeaten this year and is anticipating the big national championship game soon to light up the TV screens across the land.
Our first meeting came, when she and Jim pulled into their driveway, after having newly unpacked. I was on our deck and waved to the new couple appearing to be in “our age range” and welcoming them to the neighborhood.
“We are really friendly,” I warned her. “But you probably won’t see us much because we’re gone a lot on business.”
“Hey, hey, wait a minute,” she called, not missing a beat or sending me a hi either. She took a few quick steps in my direction and said, “I want to ask you: Do you play bridge?”
That was our introduction to each other.
Well, I don’t, but I thought that was the funniest thing. She, an ardent die-hard fan of the game, was drumming up her newest table of her favorite game. That’s about the only inside sport I think Lois likes. I told her she would have wished my aunt Kate was her neighbor, for they surely would have had the greatest tourneys going between them.
So I could tell by today’s phone conversation. She’s not fading. She’s still lookin’ good but somehow I think she has overcome the sin of it all and resides in the state of grace with her humor and her constant on-the-go activity. She’s just that good.
I’m happy about being 70. I feel good. And I drummed up a couple of pictures of lookin’ good so I can do right by this new gift of life given me. Blessings and God’s Presence abides.