I took about a hockey teams' amount of my kids berrry picking the other day, and on our way we stopped at my 92 year old neighbors house to see if she'd like to tag along.
The trek only involves walking along the road that bisects her farm, so its an easy walk, even for this 92 year old.
Unfortunately for us, the local township road maintenence crew (I named them gear duct and crow bar, which is an obscure old movie reference) cut down all the roadside berry bushes this year.
I guess there's a new township ordinance stating that pleasant fruit producing shrubbery are now considered Fauna non-gratia. Oh well, it was a pleasant day for a pleasant walk and conversation.
We got to the end of the flat, field framed part of the road, and my neighbor asks "do you want to look on the state forest land?"
Now, the forest road is pretty much up and down, and just a logging trail, not paved or even smooth, but I said "if you feel up to it..".
So we headed up, but first we had to get around the gate at the entrance.
Its ok to walk on the state forest, but they gated it off to keep the quads and four wheel (fat lazy individual transportin) type vehicles off the land.
I walked around the gate and said "Leona, come around here so you...."
And before I get the sentence out, my 92 year old neighbor limbos under the bar like a softened up co-ed on spring break.
Well, that might be a stretch, but not much of one.
I stood there with my mouth agape for a second. 92. Holding a cigarette.
Bacon, eggs, meat and potatos and an occasional drink of wine.................and she smokes.
She grew up drinking the milk from the cows, which used to be kept in the "cellarway" in a galvanized bucket. Medicinal remedies for things like cuts, abrasions, and bad sprains, were "go across to the barn and get some fresh cowflop". No kidding.
And she smokes.
I smoke cigars, mostly on weekends and mostly in the warmer months, and I understand that they (like not wearing my seatbelt) involves risk, but........................
My point is, and as we walked along the trail and talked and while I noticed that neither me nor the kids had to slow our pace, this lady is mentally AND physically fit.
And she is my inspiration in some ways.
Everyone, especially those in my middle aged group, seem obsessed with stuff like "taking care of ourselves". Of COURSE its smart. Of COURSE its the wise thing to do, but again, I cant help but see the image of the 92 year old dipping and ducking under that bar.
And everything that goes with that.
A 92 year old, who while 88, was bit by a frickin copperhead snake while walking in one of her fields, and had to be life-flighted off her farm and whisked to Danville, because the local rattlesnake round up had created a void of snake anti venom in our area.
A 92 year old who went from a one room schoolhouse "up da road" to college, to heading a department at the Pentagon, to being a business woman in Philadelphia, and owning a condo in Rittenhouse square there.
And back to the farm. She has fascinating stories, and most of them are about not much at all.
So thanks for the health related suggestions, but............................
NO, I'm not going to give up cigars, and my red wine like my guns, are going down with me for the final count.
You worry and manage for the two of us.
My cholesterol will be managed the good old fashioned way.
Life is so complicated.
I just want to be able to limbo under gates when I'm 92.