From Magic City Morning Star

J. Grant Swank
Happiness is Catching
By J. Grant Swank, Jr.
Oct 19, 2011 - 5:37:21 AM

"Are we having fun yet?"

Dr. Jonas Salk, developer of the first polio vaccine, was still having fun! It was worthwhile fun--focused on finding an AIDS vaccine.

Joe Niekro was having a lot of fun as a starting pitcher at 43.

My Grandpa was having fun tending a dozen boxes of bees behind the homeplace. It was such fun for me to see him all dressed up in that protective gear, handling the honey for us to eat on Grandma's homemade bread.

Ruth had fun dropping into the offering plate the tithe from the sale of her house. The money would go to construct a much-needed garage for the parsonage. There was also a bit left over to purchase a computer for the church office.

Ruth, now a widow, moved into a senior citizen apartment. Selling her house of forty years was somewhat traumatic; but once she moved beyond that, she discovered fresh exploits. Most of them were in giving herself away more freely for the work of God.

When Esther retired from her position at the elementary school, she set about to growing more flowers in her summer gardens, giving them away to friends who had no gardens.

I knew these people. There was not a boring personality among them. They lived on the cutting edge. They woke up each morning with a commitment to keep. Life was not shuffleboard. Life was helping, completing, supporting, creating. Besides, these people were having fun.

Ken Dychtwald, a California gerontologist, said: "It used to be that people didn't age. They died."

How true! Today, however, people are aging gracefully and meaningfully. They do it best with a smile face on life. It is not death that preoccupies them but living life to its brim.

After all, these people have seen a lot. They have come a long way!

They were born before television, penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods, duplicators, microwaves, plastic, contact lenses and frisbees.

They arrived in the world before laser, credit cards, ATM, ball-point pens, pantyhose, dishwashers and clothes dryers, electric blankets and air conditioners.

They were on the scene before computer dating, house-husbands, surrogate this and that, group therapy, nursing homes and retirement villages.

However, surrounded by numerous conveniences, alert seniors make the most of them! They know how to plug in the modern marvels so as to lighten up life with more fun.

Virginia Peckham takes her boogie board to hit the ocean's surf. Her 69 years do not hold her back. At l03, Jane Stovall continues as an author and flyer. Morris Rylee plays in the Kids-Kubs softball league at 76.

Fun is doing something fulfilling in the moment. That simple definition spells it out accurately.

When I visited Evelyn in her humble home in Maine, she would usually be quilting or reading. She was a quiet woman suffering from cancer.

"I'm not going to die in the hospital. I am not going to have a lot of prolonged treatment. Instead, I am going to be right here at home when it is my time. God is with me here. My dog is, too!" she chuckled as she glanced at her long-time friend spread out on the rug.

Evelyn was having fun--unassumingly so, without fanfare. That was her persona. No fakery. Sincere to the close. As my wife and I sat in that country church listening to her friends express their eulogies, I could not help but conclude that we were honoring one outstanding life. It was lived to the top. It was not noticed by too many, but those who did take note were important. Evelyn made them feel that way. I was so glad to have come into her fun.

J. Grant Swank Jr.

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