The clock had barely ticked past midnight and someone asked me if I’ve made any resolutions.
Huh? Make myself promises I know I can’t keep?
Well, the only resolution I have is to live as well as my Aunt Bea. She’s not really my aunt, but rather a distant cousin. She and my grandmother were raised as sisters when their mothers died.
When my grandmother was 7, her cousin Eileen gave birth to Bea. Eileen was 18 and unmarried. Although the father-to-be had asked for her hand in marriage, Eileen’s parents refused him because his family raised pigs. Eileen was sequestered in the attic, as it was deemed “inappropriate” for her to be seen pregnant in public. You know … back in the old days … and this would have been in 1910.
Eileen died a few months after Bea was born.
That left my grandmother and Bea to be raised by Eliza, who was my grandmother’s aunt, and Bea’s grandmother.
I know it’s confusing, but it worked.
Both girls thrived in the house that was alive with music, hard work and close family members.
My grandmother married at the age of 30 and lived to within three months of turning 100. She was a pistol right up to the end.
Bea is now 98. She had to give up driving just a couple of years ago because her daughter feared other drivers, not her mother’s driving. It was a very unhappy day for Bea.
Bea lives in a senior apartment community, in a second-floor walkup. Her daughter has been trying for years to get her to move in with her, but Bea says, “No.” Very independent.
Just before Christmas, she was taking the trash down to the dumpster. As she tossed one of the bags into the dumpster, she realized she didn’t have her keys in her hand.
“I just knew I’d tossed them into the dumpster. I wasn’t even thinking about it!” she said, tsk-tsking herself.
She left the other bag at the dumpster and headed back toward her apartment to get her ladder. She was going to climb into the dumpster to find her keys. And she would have, too.
It dawned on her as she got to the stairs that she was locked out, so she headed over to the manager’s office.
The manager’s son was there, he being a junior at that ripe old age of 28. He accompanied Bea back to the dumpster.
He’d brought with him a pole of some sort, hoping to be able to fish around and retrieve the missing keys. Guess he thought he was too good to get on a ladder and climb in, as she would have done. He managed to scoot the bag around a bit but there was no sound of keys in the mess.
Due to his lack of experience or his inattentiveness, he didn’t notice that Bea had come right to the edge of the dumpster and was looking in. She said, “Let me have one last look in here….” when he dropped the heavy rubber lid. It banged her on the head and broke her denture. How it didn’t kill her I’ll never know. This was in addition to the injury she’d suffered earlier in the day when she’d been cleaning her apartment and fell. She must have some serious guardian angels.
“It was a stupid thing to do!” she said, explaining her injury. She wasn’t upset with him, you see. She was upset that she’d “allowed” herself to get hurt.
When we saw her on Christmas Day, she was bruised up one side and down the other. Looked like she’d been in a car accident.
She shook her head as if she was still not believing that she had done such silly things to herself.
A few years ago she was walking home from church and decided to take a short cut. She was about 93 at the time.
She fell down a culvert. Not a scratch on her, but her glasses were broken. She said she felt like she’d fallen on a pillow, so she knew someone was looking out for her.
Just a few months ago she tripped over a neighbor’s doormat and took a header into the cement. Again, she broke her glasses. She had some bruises on her face where she’d come into contact with the cement, but didn’t break any bones or suffer any contusions.
She was mad at herself about that. Tripping over some silly rug.
And the keys? They were in the other bag. The one she’d put down by the dumpster.
I asked her how it was that she continually managed to take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’.
“God is good to me, I guess, because I still go to church!” she responded, pinching my arm.
Well, if I’m gonna live as well as Aunt Bea, stepping across the threshold of a church may be my resolution. But like I said … can’t make any promises….