Last night, my husband and I had dinner with some friends, Ed and Zelle. Zelle just turned 100 years old, earlier this month. She is in excellent health, hears reasonably well, and has a sharp mind. In a couple of months she and her husband will celebrate their 75th anniversary.
I found myself, halfway through dinner, looking at her and hoping that I could have an old age like that. You never know, of course, everyone’s path is different, but it was a profound feeling to realize that I am only half her age. The past year, I’ve been feeling pretty old. Ha!
This sweet couple has children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. They have many stories about their lives, and how they had to start over more than once, leaving one kind of life to start another. They’ve had their share of trouble and they’ve been richly blessed.
She wanted to invite me over especially because she knows I knit, and she wanted to give me a pattern. She’s given up doing fine embroidery work, examples of which were all over the apartment she and her husband share in the retirement community where they live. But she kept knitting after moving there, and she’d kept her one favorite afghan pattern. I asked, but she couldn’t remember how many times she’s used it to make afghans and lap blankets. A lot, though, for sure. I have one in my office, given to me by her husband a couple of years ago. The paper pattern, part of a little booklet, is curled and well used. Her favorite, and she gave it to me.
Then, appreciating my enthusiasm for her kindness, she invited me to take her very last pattern – one for making dishcloths. She’d saved it because it was easy and I think she couldn’t imagine not having some sort of project to work on. But she gave it to me, and then she also wanted me to accept her little wooden framed cloth knit holder thing with a last few balls of dishie cotton yarn, and her last pair of knitting needles. “Take it,” she said. “I won’t be making any more. You finish them.”
I am honored. As her kind-hearted husband escorted us back down the elevator to leave, he said, “When she’s gone, you can remember that Zelle gave that to you. You can tell people about her.”
I am honored. God bless that dear couple. I am blessed to know them, here near the end of lives well lived.