February is my birthday month. The last day of the shortest month of the year to be exact. Born in a year divisible by five, I am not a leap-year baby.
On February 28, I will turn one 6 shy of 666. I am just now entering the latter half of my seventh decade upon God’s good earth.
Age is just a number, right?
When I was a teenager of sixteen, sixty-six seemed the age of extreme dotage: grandmother season!
I loved both of my grandmothers very much but — they were old!! Grandma Cady always baked my favorite birthday cake. Grandma Peacock slipped crisp five dollar bills into the same Hallmark card year after year.
Grandma Cady wore a hearing aid. Grandma Peacock wore orthopedic shoes. Both had gray hair: Grandma Cady’s coiled in a braided bun at the nape of her neck. Grandma Peacock’s coif done up weekly at the beauty shop. Both wore sensible dresses. Wool skirts in the winter. Seersucker in the summer.
Both were wise women, pious in their faith, deeply kind and generous to a fault. Aging gracefully in the season of Social Security and Medicare — their golden years.
And now so am I??? How can that be??? Though I consider myself not so much 66 as twice as twice 33.😊
I do not bake like my Grandma Cady. My hearing is fine. And I do not wear shoes of the orthopedic kind.
I do confess that my hair is gray — “God’s highlights” I call it! And my wardrobe is certainly more hip than my grandmas’ ever were. My closet full of dresses is a testament more to my bipolar mother — Mary Lou — more than it is to Grandmother One or Grandmother Two.
But maybe I am ready for my audition for “The Golden Girls”! I LOVED this 1980’s sitcom. “Strong willed Dorothy. Spacey Rose. Lusty southern belle Blanche Devereaux. Feisty matriarch Sophia.” They all lived together in a split level house in Miami. I was exactly thirty years old the year the series premiered in 1985. I wanted to be a little like each one of these ladies when I grew up.
And now, Betty White — aka Rose Nylund — just turned 99! What a wonderful life – 3 times 33! Born in 1922, she dreamt of becoming a forest ranger — but little girls were not allowed back then. (Though she did manage to become an honorary one at the age of 88!) A comic actress of radio and television for eighty years, she still has an agent that keeps her booked and busy in the entertainment world.
Interviewed on her birthday by People Magazine, she shared some wise words:”I don’t like the other side. The positive side is much more fun!”
With this I could not more agree.
Now that I am about to be 2 x 33, one six shy of six-six-six, I am positively grateful for every single day of every single year. 24,090 days is pretty awesome. Though it may sound exceedingly greedy, I am hoping to keep up with Betty — hoping for 12,045 days more!
12,045 more days to sing God’s praise. Grateful for my happiness and health. Grateful for grown children and a bushel of grandchildren. Grateful for meaningful work and wonderful colleagues. Grateful for friends and even a few foes. Grateful for Cheshire and Charlie, my cats. Grateful for coffee, toast and books. Especially books!
Grateful for just about everything under the sun. So grateful to God for this sixty-sixth birthday. Grateful to God for every single one.
The Rev. Joani Peacock, Editor for Emmanuel Voices: A Parish Blog