I heard a familiar phrase on the radio the other day. Some man was referring to “little old ladies.” I can’t remember now in what context he used it. But it made me think of all the ways I’d heard that phrase.
The first that came to mind concerns airport TSA screening: “Why do they pat down little old ladies? It’s not like they’d have a bomb in their underwear.” Second, there’s part of the Boy Scout’s sacred duty: “To help little old ladies cross the street.” And my favorite: “This car has only been driven by a little old lady to church on Sunday.”
I conjured up these phrases for a minute and then it dawned on me. I am a little old lady! Just to make sure, I looked in the mirror with more scrutiny than usual, and I checked the date of my birth. Indeed. I really am a little old lady. But from now on, to simplify, I’ll refer to myself as LOL. (I concede it has other meanings.)
First of all, the word “little” fits. Or maybe the word “petite.” I’m now 4 feet 8 inches, and never was much taller.
Second, the word “old” fits, because, well, let’s just say I’m over 80.
And third, I certainly hope I am a “lady.” More about that later.
Now that I think about it, I’m reminded many times I’m LOL.
Like when slowly my slacks seem too long, and I’ve shrunk even more. LOL. When I’ve worked too hard and collapse more quickly than I used to. LOL. When kind people routinely open heavy doors for me when I’m shopping. LOL. And especially that one time when I was maneuvering heavy books from the library – along with my cane – and a woman passing me said, “God bless you.” LOL. (I must have really looked pitiful.)
I try not to fit that profile any way I can.
I don’t sit in a rocker and knit with a cat on my lap, though I do have a cat, and she does sit on my lap, which is kind of her. No LOL.
I try not to whine on and on about parts of my body that hurt, and I hope I’m forgiven if I sometimes do. No LOL.
I don’t tell long tales about my past – at least not often, and, again, I hope I’m forgiven if I do. No LOL.
I have friends who are younger than I am, who keep me young. I don’t know why they put up with me except I’m their token LOL.
But there are ways I do fit the profile.
I am little. I am over 80, and, especially I am a lady. I looked up “lady” in the dictionary. It has many definitions, and one I can definitely identify with: Ladies have manners. I can do manners.
Years ago, I wore a hat and gloves to appropriate functions, even though I hated both. I was a lady.
I think I know how to listen, and not talk on and on into oblivion. I am a lady.
And I know how and when to say please and thank you. Most of all, how to say thank you:
To strangers who open doors for me.
To friends who offer to help in so many ways.
To my family, who love me and who make me proud.
And most of all, thank you to the one who put me on this earth these many years. It’s been quite a life, with deep joys and deep sorrows – a full life I look back on with pride, most of the time.
Every morning when I wake up I’m glad I’m still here – one more day to live, to love, to enjoy – even if it means I do so as a little old lady.