Saturday, July 17, 2010

Centenarian Secrets

Yooooooou GUYS!

I missed you! Truly, I did.

You know, one thing I have to remember is that I am totally allowed to write a smallish sort of blarg post (as Bryan calls it) and it doesn't have to be 1000 words double spaced and paginated or anything. Because last week, before I went to California, I started writing a post about how Odessa can take her own diaper off now and about how screwed I am. But then I didn't publish it because I felt I hadn't fully absorbed the weighty consequence of the development. And now you're probably mad at me because you totally want to know about the time Odessa peed all over something or other because she took off her diaper at an inopportune moment. Well, I'm not going to do that. But I AM going to tell you that I just went to California to see my grandmother turn 100.

And boy did she ever:

That's a photo of Granny and her 3 kids and 2 great-grandkids on a catamaran in the Santa Barbara harbor. Odessa's the one looking profoundly sea sick in a Snoopy life vest.

And you want to know what's amazing? That lady has not changed one bit in all the years I've known her. She's incredibly positive and accepting and just a wonderful person. There was a big party for her, and 75 family members from all over the world were there and many people got up and talked about how much they adored Granny. And then she got up (or actually, she sat because you're allowed to do that when you're 100) and read a poem about which she later admitted, "I don't think it's a very good poem but it says what I feel."

Drinking From The Saucer

by John Paul Moore
I've never made a fortune,
And I'll never make one now
But it really doesn't matter
'Cause I'm happy anyhow

As I go along my journey
I'm reaping better than I've sowed
I'm drinking from the saucer
'Cause my cup has overflowed

I don't have a lot of riches,
And sometimes the going's tough
But with kin and friends to love me
I think I'm rich enough

I thank God for the blessings
That His mercy has bestowed
I'm drinking from the saucer
'Cause my cup has overflowed

He gives me strength and courage
When the way grows steep and rough
I'll not ask for other blessings for
I'm already blessed enough

May we never be too busy
To help bear another's load
Then we'll all be drinking from the saucer
When our cups have overflowed

And, ya'll. Hearing my 100-year-old grandmother who has lost 2 husbands, a son, and basically everyone she knew before she was 25, who has spent her life giving whatever she could to people who needed it, who is as pious, compassionate and humble as any nun ever in the history of any convent; hearing Granny read THIS poem--this cheesy-ass poem that I found in its entirety on a website called transcendental. I stood there next to my cousin Ulla, who flew all the way from Singapore to be there, and we hugged each other and cried a little because we both knew we'd never do as good a job at living to be 100 as our Granny has.

But that doesn't mean we're not going to try.


  1. Aw, Jessie:
    I think you should write this blog on an airsick bag or whatever you can find and send it to your grandmother so that she will have 1,048 birthday cards, not just 1,047, and yours will be the best one.

  2. Oh, J, this was lovely, honey. I'm so glad for all of yall that the birthday was a huge deal and made everyone feel weepy and wonderful - that's absolutely the essence of what we're all here for.

  3. Jesslyn, I'm so glad that you were able to see your grandmother turn 100 and that she was surrounded by family on such an auspicious day. She sounds like an amazing woman. You know it's really no surprise to me that you have such remarkable ancestry.

  4. It doesn't surprise me that she made a hundred. Her approach to life seemed to me to do what you can to help, and accept the rest as life in an uncertain world.

    She, like your other gradmother, have a totally positive way of acceptance...and make the best of the situation for everyone concerned.

    Her cup has been overflowing ever since I met her in the mid 60's, and I was grateful to drink from the saucer.

    She was a diehard Red Skins fan, and I loved watching the games with her in D.C.