Vi was 82 years old.  As she told me about her life, I wished I had known her at every age along the way to her now 82 years of age.  What a ride she had, and continued to have.  Vi had some definitive phrases and condensed thoughts from her experiences in living. She had indeed lived it fully.  She had sifted through much but had somehow stayed firmly rooted in who it was she was designed to be.  I admired that about her.  I admire that about anyone.

Before I knew it, 20 minutes had passed.  I hadn't said really anything much at all profound.  She, on the other hand, had said plenty that was profound, spirited, humorous, poignant, encouraging, and positive.  Vi was one of those people that you really couldn't pigeon hole as this or that.  She wasn't typically old.  She was though a mix of grit, wild passion, adventure, smarts, big love and wide-eyed grace.  I wanted to be like her at that age. 

"Vi, have you always been this much of an adventurer - a free spirit?" I asked her wanting to know if I too could hold onto my free-spirited ways at that age.  "Yes" came her reply.  "I suppose my whole life I've believed that we are to experience all we can - to explore and learn and step out in faith.  And, I have and continue to believe life is better and richer when we take risks and adventure along the way." 

She went on about owning a chain saw and cutting her own wood and shoveling her driveway still - quite a feat where she lives in Alaska.  She told me about buying an RV after her husband died and travelling all over by herself.  She told me about getting summer jobs doing ranch work, hotel work, administrative jobs after she retired and was travelling.  Casually she mentioned that in her earlier life she could take down shorthand at 120 words per minute and type the same. 

She plays the jug, washboard and various other assorted instruments in a band.  I heard her use the words, "jam session with the band".  She also clog dances weekly.  Giggling a bit she told me that people tell her all the time she is too old to clog dance and that she needs to take it easy.  Her response to those people - I can stop when I'm dead!

When Vi was in her mid to late seventies she said was living where I do now, in Prescott, Arizona.  One day she got up and said she heard God tell her to move to Alaska.  That same day she packed her things and listed her house and moved to Alaska, alone.  With faith and clarity, she boldly exclaimed that when God said it she decided to do it right then and there.

Vi turned 82 last week.  Her friends called and asked if they could throw her a birthday party at her house. As Vi put it, "I built a big room addition on my house to host parties and jam with my band."  Twenty-nine people came to her party room to celebrate her 82nd birthday.  Everyone in attendance wrote something they loved about Vi on a small piece of paper and put them in a jar.  They presented the jar to Vi telling her she could pull one slip out a day to read.

Today she told me she pulled out a slip of paper written by her pastor.  It said, "You always bring us sunshine, and when you go you leave it."  I told Vi that she was privileged to hear eulogy words while she was still alive.  Truer words could not have been spoken - she was like the sun.  My day was so much better after spending a bit of time with her. 

1 comment:

  1. That will be you when you're 82, and 42, and 52...

    p.s. I feel as tho there needs to be some knee hi hosiery in the shoe picture that has slipped down thus causing wrinkles...see what you can do