Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Friendship, aging, and toilet paper crafts....

The nice husband and I were in Austin last Friday to celebrate the aforementioned nice husband's 50th birthday. I am much much younger than he, and won't be 50 for 10 more....months. Before we went to a party, we stopped by our beloved friend Mary's swinging apartment. Mary's birthday and Rob's are just a few days apart. But Mary turned 93. Stopping by Mary's joy-filled apartment for a chat did NOT make us think 'wow 50 is really pretty young by comparison." Thank God! Because Mary, newly moved into her fashionable apartment in the retirement community, is a force of nature! She's out on the town...literally dancing, visiting, volunteering (!) and generally spreading joy and dropping sunshine wherever she goes. Husband I usually feel like we have to lie down after visiting with Mary because she just bursts with energy and good cheer...way more than we feel like we do at almost half her age! Just as her home had been in previous decades, her apartment is full of pictures and cards from her many many friends and from her grand children and great grand children. Mary's kindness and irrepressible optimism have drawn people of every generation to her. She has friends (like the real kind...not just like facebook "friends") who are 18 and friends who are our age and friends who are her age and every age in between.

While we were visiting and laughing and of course taking pictures (Mary and I are inveterate picture takers...we are both going to need a WHOLE lot more wall space and more refrigerators!) Mary taught me this great Halloween craft using a roll of toilet paper, some colored tissue paper, a brown paper sack, and some string! (email me if you want the "deets" or...check out my post on THERE's a sentence I never thought I'd say!). I made my toilet paper pumpkin this weekend, but of course it doesn't look as cute as Mary's.

She's been on my mind so much even before our visit last week, but especially now. Mostly I've been thinking about different people in my life who have been present at seminal moments. Mary was the one holding me when I was crying so hard I didn't think I could breathe...on that day in 1997 when the moving van was hauling away my then husband's stuff because we were divorcing. There she was, volunteering of course, at the place where I was working and living. (that is..the Austin Ronald McDonald House) And she promised me that Jesus loved me and that things would get better. And she was right.

I'm so grateful that Mary and her whole family are in my life. She's taught me a lot of things (besides cute crafts...though never underestimate the value of cute crafts!) Mostly she reminds me to be friends with people of all ages and to embrace each and every day. 30 can be old if you don't give and receive love and the 93 year old who loves and laughs is the youngest person in the room. Hugs and love! Rhoda