Several years ago I named this column "Middle Age Plus" to emphasize all the good things (the pluses) about getting older. This week has demonstrated that fact to me so many ways that I am afraid I might forget some of them.
Last Saturday, I had the fun of accompanying my sister, Ellen Gray Massey, to the Bates County Historical Society, where she was giving a talk about two of her civil war novels. Since we had lived in Butler for six years back in the early '70s I was hoping to see some of my friends. Our former next-door neighbor and bff (for those of you who don't text, that means best friend forever), her son and daughter-in-law, who are also very good friends, were there. Also the newly published author and friend from both Butler and Nevada, Carol Ann Winburn, was there. I was lucky that she had a copy of her new book with her so we swapped autographed copies. I had a new book to take with me for the next week at the Elderhostel.
I also had the opportunity to get better acquainted with a great-grandson who quietly sat through the entire talk with his mother without making any noise at all.
Then Saturday night I was privileged to see Al Fenske, Gwen Jones, Kim Bessey and Charlie Johnson give a shortened version of the reader's theater production of my first book, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Road to Senility" that Sandy Davis adapted several years ago for production by the CCPA. This was presented in Missouri Recital Hall for the PEO's and BIL's who were on the Cottey Campus for the annual continuing education week that follows graduation. They were a tremendous audience and their laughter stayed with me for days. I was very proud of our local actors.
Next came the final session of the spring Elderhostels over at the YMCA of the Ozarks. This one was special because my daughter and greatgranddaughter both got to come with me. It was a great group to lead and have fun with. They told some of the funniest jokes I have heard all year, and most of them I can repeat!
Coming home after the week is always a pleasure, but it almost got marred this time. The day before we were to leave, our rear windshield burst and shattered.
We didn't know where to turn for reliable help. As we drove slowly into Potosi to see if we could get it fixed, we passed the Sheriff's office. I decided that would be a good place to ask for advice. I was right. The office staff got busy on the phones trying to find a reliable garage that could get it fixed for us before we needed to leave. The people at the garage were equally nice to us and since the glass had to be ordered for the next day, they drove us the 11 miles back to the YMCA and told us they would bring the car to us the next day after it was fixed. Insurance agents were also helpful and we were able to start home on the usual day, but several hours later.
I needed to stock up on groceries after Lester had batched for a week, and while I was at the store I witnessed the kindness of one of the carry-out clerks at Woods as she helped a confused older woman find her car and driver.
Through all of these experiences I kept singing the praises of small towns and helpful people. But then a surprise gift from a visiting son and a family barbecue on Sunday night was a pleasant climax to a wonderful week. So what if I am middle age plus? I had a ball!