So, the doctors say. So, my
aunt Ruth said at grandmother's 90th birthday celebration.
Have More Birthdays,
You Live Longer
90 years old. A lifetime
spread out in pictures and people. Lives interconnected by time.
My grandmother lives in
Herrich, South Dakota, population 105. Just this side of no where and somewhere.
My mother and I flew back
for a long weekend for the party. A day to get out there. Fly to Omaha
and then drive 260 or so miles out on straight stretching midwest roads
until we came to Herrich.
On Saturday, we went to my
cousin Nancy's 25th wedding anniversary. Sat, ate cake and delicious midwestern
beef, and talked.
night it snowed. Big, wet, fluffy flakes. Like I always wanted when I visited
when I was a kid. But we always visited at Christmas, when midwestern snow
is dry and -30 degrees all kinds of cold.
But this snow. This snow
was for snowballs. I may be 30, but I threw a couple after church on Sunday.
Church was hilarious. We
doubled that churches' population up to 50ish. There were after all 19
of us. We took up three tiny pews.
A brief snow fight and then
time to celebrate 90 years old.
There were cousins and uncles
and aunts and relatives from a patchwork of states. South Carolina, Nevada,
California, Arizona, Nebraska, oh all over. And yet looking at the group,
you could tell that this was one of the last events of this kind.
There were only seven cousins
there from my generation out of about 100 people (yes, we doubled the town's
population.). Oh, well, life is about seizing the opportunity. I was there
and I had a blast.
Talked to people I haven't
seen in forever. Contemplated the 90 years it takes to gather five children,
twelve grandchildren, umpteen great-grandchildren, three sisters, nieces,
nephews, a lifetime lived in one small town.
stuff too. I never knew grandma's family didn't speak English when grandma
was a little girl. They spoke German. German language church. German in
the home. Her parents started to speak English when their girls started
to go to school. I never knew my grandfather was 4 years old when he went
to 1st grade. Didn't know that my Aunt Nancy plays piano. That Ruth can
give an excellent speech (and funny too). And apparently, if you have lots
of birthdays, you live longer.