Longest! Oldest! Bestest!

Jun 22, 2014 | 0 comments


Betty at Work, 2013

Betty at Work, 2013

Yesterday was the solstice – the longest day of the year. About smack dab in the middle of it I had lunch with the oldest person I know. And before it was over, I listened to some of the best Irish music this side of the Emerald Isle. For a long day, it went by in a flash.

My lunch date was with Betty Paxton and her daughter, Jan. We met at the Roo and the only concession Betty made to her recently broken hip (on Easter Sunday) was to use the ramp rather than the stairs – no walker, no cane, no lean-on-a-shoulder. She made no concession at all (or much referral, either) to the heart attack she had while she was still in the hospital. She is my role model!

We were meeting, at her request, to talk about her upcoming hundredth birthday. But, of course, in typical Betty fashion, I found that she asked more questions than she answered and I probably talked more than she did. Jan even had one of my books with her and asked me to sign it! They made me feel like a celebrity though no one else in the place was fooled. Most of them managed to come by our table to pay their respects to Betty and to marvel at her recovery from what most of us think of as “the beginning of the end for a person her age.”

At Rolande and Glenn's

At Rolande and Glenn’s

Betty, of course, is not her age! There is no way, even after all her medical traumas of the last few months, that you would take her for ninety-nine-going-on-a-hundred! Just doesn’t seem possible or logical or true. And, she’s still officially on the books as an employee at Safeway. (For those who haven’t been paying attention, until Easter Betty had been commuting three days a week to her job as a Bag Girl at the Astoria Safeway.) She did confide that she thinks it might be time to resign.

Shortly after I got home, still totally energized by my visit with Betty and Jan, Randal Bays and family arrived. Since they were here a year ago, Susan has become ‘Dr. Waters,’ Owen has taken up the concertina, Willie is playing in a jazz band, and Randal has just put the finishing touches on an album which will feature music by all of them. Plus, if I remember correctly, at least one composition by Owen. The CD should be out soon –maybe next week! But I’m hoping we’ll get a bit of a preview at Vespers this afternoon!

Willie and Owen

Willie and Owen

We finished the day by going to a lovely Solstice Hootenanny where we visited with old friends, met new folks, ate fabulous food and listened to amazing music and poignant stories.  We even sang along bit in our croaky voices.   It happened all amongst the trees overlooking our beautiful bay in a magical setting that took me back to childhood and Camp Willapa and those days that were never going to end.  It was definitely a day that I wished would last forever. But I guess being the longest of the year was the next best thing!


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