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I Want to Be Just Like That!

A couple of days ago I was shopping in our local Fabulous Fresh Produce store, stocking up on wonderful mid-summer foods. When I pulled my cart up to the checkout, the shopper ahead of me caught my eye. Trying not to be too obvious about it, I watched her while I placed my fruits and veggies on the belt.She appeared to be close to ninety, and as I covertly studied her face I was delighted to note that the deepest of her many wrinkles were smile lines.

Despite her age, her hands were steady as she reached into a large bag slung over her shoulder and pulled out her wallet. When she did, I’ll admit to a moment of age bias as I imagined long minutes spent waiting while she sorted bills and counted out change, but I should have spared myself the trouble. My jaw nearly dropped when she slipped out a debit card and inserted it into the machine. Now I was really intrigued.

While she was pushing the buttons, slow and deliberate, I pretended to look beyond her and out the front window of the store, while I admired her summery dress from the corner of my eye. At five foot ten or so, she was tall — still with a straight back and square shoulders — and the loose style, in hot pink, yellow, and green, fit well.

While my own groceries were being scanned she placed two small bags in her cart and left the store, walking with firm, slow steps, but as straight and tall as one many years younger. I wondered if a family member might be waiting to drive her home or if she had come from the seniors’ condo across the street.

A few minutes later when I walked out of the store, there she was. She’d just returned her cart to the corral in the parking lot, and as I watched, she took keys from her purse and aimed the clicker as she walked toward a small car.

Turning away I straightened my shoulders, more thankful than ever that my mother had made us stand, with back and shoulders pressed against the kitchen wall, for five minutes each evening after we finished supper. And I promised myself I should smile as often as possible so that my rapidly increasing wrinkles will be the right kind. As I drove home I resolved to keep my mind open and active, and stay on top of the technology rushing at me with frightening speed.

Although the concept of debit cards would have been science fiction when this woman was young, I observed her using one with apparent ease. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out she sent a quick tweet from her smart phone or texted her great-grandson before leaving the parking lot and driving home.  And I strongly suspect that if she used a new recipe to prepare dinner that evening, she  found it on the internet and followed the steps from her tablet, propped on the kitchen counter while she cooked.

When I get old, I want to be just like her.


Phyllis writes words: words for stories, and words for books. Phyllis writes words for blogs too.

6 thoughts on “I Want to Be Just Like That!

  1. I like this story too
    I just printed off a few of your stories and took them to a friend today to read who does not have a computer .
    She really enjoyed them
    Thanks for sharing

  2. I think it is wonderful to be in that shape when you get up there. I think a lot of it is mental attitude. I know a lady who goes to Curves 5 days a week. I met her there. She is the coolest. She is turning 88 years old this year. She is about 6′ tall and has no extra fat on her at all. Last year she had knee replacement surgery, but pushed on. Everytime I see her, I can’t help but admire her. She, of course, drives her own car, and lives on her own. She told me the other day, there is one thing on her bucket list she wants to do…..go camping in a tent again. She hasn’t done it for a long time, but figures it is time to go again.
    Thanks for sharing the story.

  3. That’s what I pray for, Phyllis: to age with grace and dignity. And of course my biggest fear: the ravages of dementia. I think the way to maintain your inner beauty is to remain useful. What do you think?

  4. I agree, Patti — remain useful and keep the brain stretched and working hard.

    I also refuse to worry about how age affects me, i.e. wrinkles, grey hair etc. I want to look my best, but I’d like to accept these things gracefully rather than fight against them to the point of looking silly.

    I think keeping active and looking outward — being interested in others and learning — is one of the big things.

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