One Hundred Years
November 8, 2009
You’ll often catch me uttering that old saying, “The days are long but the years are short.” It was said to me by a great lady after I had my first child, when I was complaining of the exhaustion of new motherhood. That great lady just turned 100 years old, and I had the pleasure of planning her grand birthday party.
Verna Jones is my husband’s grandmother. She’s a woman who’s traveled the world several times, and was married to the same man for 73 years. 73 years ! She’s witnessed our world change so dramatically over the past century. With a mind as sharp as a tack, she tells vivid stories of her childhood travels with her family. With that record, and all of her wisdom and insight, I often wondered why she was never on Oprah.
I met this wonderful lady when she was just a young thing, at age 85. She always treated me with the utmost kindness, and welcomed me into her family from day one. So today we threw her a great party to celebrate becoming a centenarian.
The colors were whites and oranges, with teal blue accents, a nod to her favorite color. The flowers were absolutely beautiful. Hydrangeas, orange tulips, berries, ranunculus, and roses.
We scattered fall leaves all over the tables.
A jazz trio played all the great classics
A helpful relative volunteered to bring the cake. Have you ever seen these numbers written on a birthday cake before ?
This is the second centenarian’s birthday party I’ve attended this year. Aunt Ginny, Verna’s sister in law, turned 100 this past April. Aunt Ginny to this day has a light in her eye and a spring in her step. When asked of her secret to longevity and happiness, she reminded me of this inspiring quote by Charles Swindoll that guided her for many years.
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.”
It was challenging planning a party for 100 people long distance. So many details to consider: invitations, a caterer, a bartender, the facility, party favors, etc. It was a long day, but we managed to pull it off, and the guest of honor was so very happy with the celebration.
This little guy, on the other hand, was not so pleased.
I only hope that I may live as full of a life as my dear Grandma Verna and reach the age of 100 years young. Only sixty something years to go. And I’ll remind myself that even though these days may seem long, I know those years will be very very short.