This is what 102 looks like
for my mother-in-law, Mamie Kirkland. I just returned from Buffalo celebrating her birthday. Now, Mamie wouldn’t be caught barefoot walking, in or outdoors – but her sturdy legs once walked the streets of Buffalo, as an Avon Lady (which she still does from her house). Her 4 foot 9 inch frame bore 9 children and raised 7, my husband being the only boy. Her sparkling eyes have seen history unfold, from the KKK chasing her father and family out of Mississippi, to the race riots in St. Louis, to the industrial rise and fall of Buffalo. But Mamie keeps walking, and she flies to LA yearly to stay with us for winters.

Mamie walks a little slower these days, making sure of what’s beneath her feet. She doesn’t need a phone book or a computer. Her family’s phone numbers are stored in her hard driving mind. And she remembers what she had for dinner and with whom, a year ago! My theory is that she is always focused and fully present, not like us multi-tasking morons. When asked her secret of longevity, she points upward, but she also offers earthly advice. “Slow down, don’t rush your life…live your life.” Thanks, I’m going to try, Mamie.

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