Age really is just a number

Published 4:45 pm Friday, August 4, 2023

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To the Editor:

For many years, I have heard the old adage “age is just a number.” From May through July, 2023, I have been tested and I now am a true believer!

Going back to childhood memories, my Mother enjoyed talking about other people’s birthdays. She especially made sure each family member was treated royally on their day. However, she did all in her power to keep her age a secret.

My Dad was the first family member to die. Several weeks after his burial, a nice monument was placed in the family plot. We were proud to take Mama for the “viewing.” She was so pleased and slowly read the wording until her eyes moved to the other side of the monument and she read her birth date. Her smile faded and through clenched false teeth she said, ”Who put THAT up there? Now everybody will know how old I am!”

I’ve never tried to hide my age, but the older I get, the less I talk about age – until recently. On Mother’s Day this year, I was the oldest mother present at church (not the oldest living Mother), and I was recognized, honored and gifted. I felt special.

The last Sunday in May, I retired from being Music/Choir Director of my beloved Ashley’s Grove Baptist Church. I had completed 48 years of service. I am now a choir member and I feel blessed.

Early in July, members of the younger Parker extended family contacted me about helping compile a list of older family members so all could be contacted about a Family Reunion. For many years, this family met on July 4th for the annual reunion and many years had lapsed since our last one. The Severn Community Building was the place and the date was changed to July 15.

As each day passed, excitement mounted and the older members asked what we could do or help with the menu. The answer always the same – “We’ve got it!” There was one older member than me (my sister), but I was certainly going to carry some food!

My niece, Dianne, was helping and kept saying I shouldn’t cook so much food, but at 12:30 pm, July 15, found her (and my sons) helping unload foodstuff and the large crowd was gathering. At 1:00 pm, the appointed “announcer” (another niece, Donna) began speaking. She welcomed everyone, said a few words about the reunion, and then – “We are also honoring Trudy on her 86th birthday.”

Time stood still! Not that I am nosey, but never had anything happened in my life that had been a total surprise. Dozens of balloons swayed, the huge HAPPY BIRTHDAY SIGN glared, singing and clapping, and all around were the best people I knew – family, friends, small children (even one in a carriage), cousins I had not seen in years.

Needless to say I can never forget nor thank each person who made this possible (i.e. cooks – one had barbequed Boston Butts for all, reserving the building/decorations). Everything was perfect. But most of all were the people. I didn’t get around to hugging and thanking each one, but all of you keep coming to my mind and I will never forget the day before I turned 86 years old.

Age is a number, but thank GOD for the many blessings you have and pass encouragement on to others.

Trudy Gibson