My friend Erma is 100 years old and until just recently has been as spry as a young chicken, even in her old age! Seriously, she is an incredible woman. I decided 16 years ago when I first met her, that I wanted to be like her when I grew up.
Born in 1908 she had two children of her own and raised about 100 others as foster kids. Some were only with her a short while, others just in their teens, but she has told me story after story of people "in the olden days" dropping off babies and children at her doorstep, simply because they knew she would take them in , and she did. The thing about Erma is she takes people into her heart.
Erma is an artist. She paints in oils. Now to tell you how incredible she is.... In a recent visit, she took me down stairs to see her latest project which she had just completed, a picture of trees and a stream that she painted with a sponge and Q-tips. Now this may not seem too unusual for an artist, even at 100 years of age, but the thing is, she has been struggling with the loss of her eyesight for a while now, and can barely see, which is why she had to abandon the brush.
To make matters worse, she has been wearing contact lenses to help her vision in the one eye that still works enough to help her get around and some problem with it gave her a terrible infection which, thankfully seems to be getting better.
She is not just an artist though, she is a woman of many talents, including gardening. She has been a hard worker all of her life, and hasn't stopped yet. Up till this year, you would often find her outside on her knees pulling weeds or putting out manure, which she says is more valuable than a diamond ring. She a farm girl transplanted to the city and she loves her flowers, and vegetables.
When I met Erma she had just moved to town a few months before me, and just happened to become my neighbor. She told me the story of how on the day she moved into the house her husband had a heart attack. The ambulance came, the firetruck too, and they took her husband to the hospital, but he died. She was new in the neighborhood. no one knew her, and no one came to call after the fact to see how things were. She said she thought city folk were a bit odd that way.
Last autumn, Erma took a fall, or more precisely, she was pushed over by a car door and hit the cement hard, hard enough to break her thigh is three places. She recovered nicely though and is now back home, in her house where she lives alone. She tells me stories of how the nursing home tried to keep her there, but she was not about to let them!
She also tells me stories of how the younger generation treats old people badly, how they think old folks are from another planet or something. She says she is amazed how far people will actually go to treat her as if she is dumb, funny, she is probably one of the wisest people I know, and one of the nicest too.
Tonight I went to visit Erma, and listened to more stories. I love her sense of humor. She makes me laugh. She can and has done a lot in her life and is a dear sweet little old lady, and when I grow up, I wanna be like Erma.