Big deal, so Lady Gaga is more popular than Obama. Yawn. The REAL news this year? America is smitten with Betty White all over again! She’s been hanging around my house since the 1960’s. Granny*and I rarely missed an episode of Password. Loved that show. Loved it so much I went on it myself in the ‘80’s and won $5,000. We also watched “Golden Girls,” when Granny had Alzheimer’s. She may not always have known why she was laughing, but she laughed. Both the shows and that girl, Betty, have been around for over 50 years. Why? Cause they wear well.
Not everyone does. We won’t all get to 88 with cute dimples, a wicked sense of humor and be asked to host , “Saturday Night Live.” Many of us will be in rocking chair mode, having heated debates over what drug lowers our cholesterol faster, or comparing our latest hip-knee-shoulder replacements. Some of us may not even remember our own names, let alone anyone elses’. That is if we’re still here.
Now almost every day I call up a friend of mine. Despite two bouts of cancer, the loss of his wife, and a few replaced body parts and major surgeries, he ALWAYS answers the phone with enthusiasm. We chat about the news, argue politics, compare tennis scores, and sometimes just talk about the weather. He makes me laugh and is ‘younger’ than most people I know. So young, that I actually had to call him yesterday just to get his age right for this blog. His reply? “Eighty-one and a half.” (See previous post: ‘Six Year-Old Shares the Secret of Life.”)
That’s who I want to be when I grow up: the kind of person someone WANTS to call every day; the kind who is game for that next opportunity, not bemoaning the missed one. I want the young folks to hear in my voice that tingle of excitement for what tomorrow might bring. Frankly, I have my work cut out for me. Fortunately, I still have a few years of growing up to do before I catch up to my friend and Betty. I’ll know if I ever get it right though—the phone will ring. Who knows, it might be SNL calling. (*Helen Hudson is the author of, “Kissing Tomatoes,” a memoir of the years with her grandmother before and after Alzheimer’s. http://www.helen-hudson.com.)