90-Something Christmases & Counting

90-Something Christmases and Counting90-Something Christmases & Counting

Since Thanksgiving, illness has been keeping me away.  The Big Bad Flu must have seen that stress had turned my house of health to straw, and he huffed and puffed and blew it in.  Since then, I have huffed and puffed, and sneezed and wheezed, and coughed and hacked, and snorted and groaned, and asked, “Huh?” a lot.

So has Big D.

This comes on the heels of a friend’s more serious illness.  My 90-something-year-old friend – I’ll call her Ms. Stitch – has been in and out of the hospital for chronic pain.  Ms. Stitch and I have grown very close this past year, and I have learned so much from her.  As an early Christmas present, I thought I’d share some of her secrets to a long, fulfilling life – during the holidays and all year round.

Keep Setting Goals

As you may have guessed from her pseudonym, Ms. Stitch likes to sew.  More specifically, she likes to quilt.  She has made dozens of full-sized quilts for her grandchildren.  Once her family circle started expanding to great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren, she scaled the quilts down to what she calls “lap rugs” or “old-fashioned string quilts.”  “There’s no rhyme or rhythm to them,” she tells me, “and no two alike.”

Ms. Stitch likes to sew every single day she can, so once her family members had received their quilts, it was time to set new goals.  This was when her mission began.  She wanted to make 100 lap rugs for – get this – the elderly folks in retirement homes.  She considered how cold these buildings can be, and she wanted to help keep the residents warm.  She imagined each person with a quilt of their own, draped over their legs as they sat in wheelchairs.

Her talents have also blessed friends (including me), church members, and complete strangers.  I’ve seen her send quilts home with Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the pest control guy.

Read, Read, Read

Ms. Stitch likes to read Love Inspired books.  They have “no sex, no violence, no language,” or what I like to call “no point.”  I’m kidding – the point is that it doesn’t matter your taste, just read.

I also learned this from another friend of mine who lived to be 94.  She read murder mystery books every week, the Sunday paper every weekend, and then completed the paper’s crossword puzzle.  This kept her mind sharp – much sharperer than mine.

*And speaking of reading, I’m currently reading The Seneca Scourge, a thriller by blogging buddy Carrie Rubin.  If you’re looking for a great gift for the bookworm in your life, this is a winner.  Literally.  This book has won awards.  Check it out here.  Purchase it here.*

Enjoy Food like a Teenager

Ms. Stitch likes cold pizza for breakfast.  In fact, she could eat pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  She has boasted to me many times, “I can eat anything I want!”  And she does.  One time I asked if I could pick up anything for her at the grocery store, and she handed me a list.  It read:

  • Grits
  • Chocolate Ice Cream

I’m not suggesting you only eat like a teenager, but there’s something to be said for enjoying your food, which is certainly akin to enjoying your life.

Keep Moving

Over the years, there have been many things Ms. Stitch has had to give up – working, gardening, hiking, driving.  She has confessed to me that whenever she is tempted to sit around and feel sorry for herself, she gets busy with something she can do.  She writes a letter, calls a friend, sits in the sunlight, watches an old movie, or does her “arthritis therapy” – otherwise known as knitting.

Don’t Be Afraid to Boss

Why be shy?  If there’s something you need or want, say so.  Ms. Stitch always has a job for me whenever I see her.  My main domain is safety pins.  I help pin quilt tops to the backing and batting.  When a quilt is complete, she leaves the pins for me to remove.

One of the first times Big D met her, Ms. Stitch came out to the driveway waving something in her hand.  How sweet, he thought, she has a card for me.  “Take this to the mailbox for me,” she instructed.

Nobody’s hands are idle when they visit Ms. Stitch.  I’ve seen her preacher take out her garbage.  I’ve also seen him step in a whopping dog pile in her yard.  And that’s another secret . . .

Keep Your Sense of Humor

Ms. Stitch keeps me in stitches.  We have a lot of fun together, and her humor is often directed at herself.  Not taking herself too seriously, she laughs at her age-related humanity – memory loss, thin skin, “fake ears” (hearing aids), “fake eyes” (glasses), and false teeth.  She accepts the changes life has handed her with grace – knowing that the personality inside of her is stronger than ever.

She told me the other day that she didn’t like the style of a pair of her shoes.  She crumpled up her nose as she modeled them for me and said, “They’re just not what old ladies should wear.”

Say, “I Love You”

It’s common knowledge that when you reach a certain age, you can say anything you want.  Ms. Stitch uses that power for good, and often tells me with a goodbye hug, “I love you.”  I feel my heart go all gooey and warm when she tells me that.  And of all the things that need saying, it seems the most important.

I love and appreciate all of you, and I wish 90-something happy Christmas seasons for you and your loved ones.

This will most likely be my last post for the year.  I plan to go into full swing for the holidays, and spend time with family.  I hope you have the best holidays ever, and I look forward to hearing all about them in the New Year!

90-Something Christmases & Counting– Anita, Noted in Nashville

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22 thoughts on “90-Something Christmases & Counting

  1. What a wonderful post. I love Ms. Stitch’s suggestions, and I think they’re spot on, especially the need to keep using our brains (mental aerobics) and to keep moving. Many of the people who live to be 100 say they walk every day. I hope Ms. Stitch recovers; sorry to hear she’s been ill. Also sorry to hear you’ve been under the weather for so long. That’s no fun. 😦

    Thanks so much for the book mention. Much appreciated. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, and thank you again for your support. Merry Christmas to you! (BTW, your lovely Christmas CD has been spinning in my player quite a bit!)

    • That’s so nice. Then it’s the only singing I’ve done this season. 😦 But, I’m feeling a little more human every day. I’m sure my voice will be back in time to sing “Auld Lang Syne.”

      I love your book, and I have been suggesting it every chance I get. I’m looking forward to the next one.

      And if exercise helps people reach centenarian status, you’re more likely than anyone else I know to reach it. So I predict many more books in your future. 😉

      Merry Christmas!

  2. That was an amazing read, this post is so fantastic. I’m sorry you’ve been sick. I’m on my second, 14 days of Levaquin. It’s seriously strong stuff. I lay in bed and talk to my toes and make shadow puppets. I hope you feel better soon, stinks to be sick during the holidays.

  3. Very nice post Anita. Ms. Stitch sounds like a character. She also sounds like someone that we should all emulate as we get older: pleasant, friendly, generous, active, and funny. That’s the way to be, no matter what age you are, and to pull it off in your 90s is perfect. Every time that Terri and I are around a grumpy old person, we reiterate our rule. We will not get grumpy, and if one of us does, we will get a reminder. Fingers crossed for your and Ms. Stitch’s recovery. ~James

    • I think it’s very helpful to have a partner who will tickle your ribs now and then and tell you to, “Smile, and lighten up!” Of course, being married to the right person helps keep a smile on your face continually.

      It’s always so great to see your two smiling faces on your Gravatar when I check my comments. Have a great holiday season!

  4. This is a lovely post. Heart warming and true. Thank you for sharing Ms. Stitch with us. I love her already. BTW, just found you through Carrie, and it’s my dream to move to Nashville. 🙂

    • Oh, Nashville would welcome you with open arms and a song. I am a very proud Texas girl, but this is home now – and the best place in the world to live.

      Carrie is the best, isn’t she? I have met some great bloggers through her. Thank you for taking the time to visit my site. I hope you have a great holiday season!

  5. I Absolutely LOVED this post Anita. And although Ms. Stitch sounds like the Best!! I must give credit to you my dear. What you did so selflessly in describing a beautiful elderly woman with flavor, spunk & a lifetime of stories, told all who read that you are in fact an incredible woman as well! The time you donated, the knowledge of everything she loves, enjoys doing! The wisdom she imparted while you listened to each and every word. Well….let’s just say it’s renewed my faith in the human spirit which was sorely needed this day!! I’d just spent the past five minutes before visiting your blog, writing a comment on another blog who had challenged her readers to find something honorable about this Christmas in comparison to Christmas’ past. Well, here it is. What a heartwarming & soulful post that I will most definitely be sharing and praying that every reader takes from it, what myself & Inion did. And that is, that love does indeed abound this Christmas & some folks truly understand the reason of the season and the gift of love!! Thank you for that my dear! And Merry Christmas to you & yours & Ms. Stitch!

    • Well, you’ve made me cry this morning. 🙂 Thank you for your kind words. It has been a difficult Christmas for Ms. Stitch and her family since her health has declined. It has highlighted for me and my husband how precious each holiday is, and the importance of sharing those three words Ms. Stitch always tells me, “I love you.” I hope you and Inion have a special Christmas. I lost my mother 7 years ago – we were very close. So, it’s heartwarming to see a mother-daughter team like you. Merry Christmas!

  6. Anita, we wanted to stop by to wish you and Big D a very Happy New Year. We have so enjoyed getting to know you this year and look forward to more of your wonderful music, stories and recipes. 🙂 Hugs, Terri & James

  7. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I love what I’ve found here! What a beautiful post about Ms. Stitch. Reading about her made me miss the days of hanging out with my grandma, while she made another braided rug, tended her geraniums, or rolled coins for “the missions”. I learned about a lot more than whatever we were working on at the moment. I hope you get to spend a lot more time with Ms. Stitch. She sounds wonderful.

    • Thank you, Tina! I love the image of your grandmother rolling coins for the missions. I never got the chance to be close to my grandmothers, so my relationship with Ms. Stitch has been very special.

      I enjoyed your music very much. Good luck with your album. I know all about the frustrations that can come with a project like that. I really look forward to hearing more. Thanks for stopping by!

      • Thank you for your kind reply. It’s been 5 years since my mémé passed away, and already 23 years that I’ve been missing my grandma. It is a special thing to be close to someone like that.
        I’m honoured that you took the time to listen to my music. I can’t wait to get back here to listen to yours, I just noticed the link tonight.
        I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Award. You can read about how to accept the award, if you choose, at http://tinapumfrey.com/2014/01/10/liebster-award/

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