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Tuesday, January 12, 2010


J. Grant Swank, Jr.

When my father was alive, he would come upon a new (or old) loose joint or two or three. Then he would say, "Just the aging process."

After awhile, I figured out that that was his self-consoling way of dealing with body parts obeying Murphy's Law.

Someone once wrote: "After thirty-five usually something in your body hurts at all times, and after sixty-five it's just patch, patch, patch!"

Could be.

However, welcoming the aging process is one way to do patchwork best.

Actress Diana Rigg, when turning 40, said, "Some women become incomparably better as they get older. Others reach the height of their attractiveness at around 25 and it's all downhill after that. Fortunately, I fit into the first category. From 25 on, I inherited myself. It was like stepping into a garment that suddenly fit."

"I inherited myself!" What a fantastic way to look at one's growth. It is true that we hardly know who we are. Life is that adventure of discovery. Some of the findings are not all that encouraging; however, we can rearrange a bit here and there to make them more pleasing. Nevertheless, there are other compartments that simply wait for the astounding finding. It takes years to come upon some of them.

Lillian Carter was certainly one of those sparkling personalities who kept uncovering layer upon layer of hidden treasures. In so doing, she learned how to "inherit herself."

When Mrs. Carter was 8l, she was a featured speaker to senior citizens. She said: "I don't know what it is to sit and rock. Never think you're growing old, never sit in a rocking chair. Get out and do things for somebody else."

And so she did just that! Furthermore, her famous son and daughter-in-law are certainly following her energized example.

Martin Luther King Jrs.'s father was a speaker at that same conference. He told the crowd: "You're no older than you let yourself be. Never let it get so dark you can't promote a song."

Is that how Fanny Crosby, famous gospel hymn writer, gave to the church thousands of songs, many written when she approached her nineties? No matter how dark her world became, she discovered more of the inheritance! Her heart so brimmed over with praise that she shared her wealth with the world of faith.

Blind from the age of six weeks, Mrs. Crosby determined to sing from sight within. Among her gospel tidings are the familiar "Blessed Assurance" and "To God Be The Glory."

When remembering those who step "into the new garment" of each growth spurt, I recall fondly my great, great Aunt Cora. She lived to be l05. Every year the relatives had a stupendous birthday bash for her, knowing that it would be her last. But she tricked us all and just kept going and going and going.

After she got to be l00, neighbors cautioned her about riding her bicycle. How dare they!, she would snub.

Those who appreciated her sewing skills, however, never let out a peep when watching her make her own birthday dresses. After all, who had the right to tell Aunt Cora when to stop?

George Burns quipped: "A lot of people practice getting old. They start to walk slower and they hold on to things. They start practicing when they are 70. And when they are 75, they're a hit. They've made it. They are now OLD. Who in his right mind wants that?"


That reminds me of Grandpa who was caught still pruning apple trees when he was 9l. He
fell out of the limbs and broke his. But he did not like doctors and so put up a fit when we hauled him off to one.

"They're only out to get your money," he lectured all the way to the hospital.

As soon as that leg mended, he was right back where he felt most comfortable: the apple trees. No holding onto furniture for a fellow who knew how to scale the heights.

Remember when "old women" had to look old--hair pulled back in buns, ugly stockings, worn house dresses, shabby shoes?

Thank God that does not go over today. Why, you can hardly tell an "old woman" any more. And that is just as well. It all goes to beautifying the environment.

With each new birthday, some pals of mine have to play the downer and make it all look horrible. Then throw in a few of those "getting old" slim-jim cards from distant friends who refuse to forget and you've got the potential for a real case of the blues.

These people mean well; they are just trying to play amateur comedians.

Yet just as quickly as they toss the ball in my court, I toss it back to them and sing, "Welcome the new day. Let it come, shout hurrah! Getting better, then the best. Can hardly wait to taste the rest!"

Put out the welcome mat for each new morning. It sure does hang better than a wet