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Southern Eyes

One of the recent politically-correct slogans goes something like 50 is the new 40 and 40 is the new 30. I don't know who comes up with these things that suddenly become popular, but I'd like to know who their publicist is.

I've got a few ideas I'd like to take to the masses and have them swallow. I have a hard time understanding the concept of the slogan. I especially wonder where it stops. While I'm sure many 50 year olds would like to be 40, I can't imagine too many 20 year olds who wish they were 10. I guess I need someone to explain it to me, because my response when I heard it was, Oh, grow up. Fighting aging and wanting to be younger is no new concept. I remember visiting a rarely-used lake house belonging to my aunt. In the bedroom was a magazine rack filled with old magazines. And I mean old in the non-politically-correct sense of the word. Although they were dated in the 1960s, I was surprised (although I don't know why) to realize that the articles covered the same topics of today's magazines - weight loss, beauty, recipes and relationships.

Although the concept is definitely not new, I think what bothers me the most about the old is the new young concept is the implication of putting off responsibilities that accompany each phase of life. But I'm already getting bored with my philosophy here, so I'll speed through time and talk about a local lady who has aged with grace.

Last year, I had the pleasure of writing a feature story about Esther Wood. It was so fun to talk with her because, even at 98-years-old, she was still full of spunk. And her eyes still twinkled when she was teasing. I regretted that I had not met her in her younger years. Forget 98 is the new 88, I could've sworn that Mrs. Wood was still in her prime.

The other fun aspect of the story for me was that it focused on how many years Mrs. Wood had attended campmeeting at White Oak Campground. Like Mrs. Wood, I grew up attending campmeeting every summer. While I loved every minute of it, there were some people who balked at the primitive facilities and conditions. But I learned that those conditions that I experienced 35 and 40 years ago were modern compared to those Mrs. Wood experienced 90 years ago. I had great fun sharing her story with my family.

Mrs. Wood's story continues to be a happy one. I learned through the grapevine that she celebrates her 99th birthday this week. I hope it's her happiest one yet, and I wish her many more.

Web posted on Thursday, January 31, 2008

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