As we prepared to eat at a family gathering one afternoon, the power went out.
“Let’s all bow our heads,” one of my uncles started.
“It’s too dark to say the blessing,” responded Gran, the queen of one-liners.
Today that comedic genius, my maternal grandmother, Gran, turns 99 years old.
I caught up with her last weekend at my cousin’s wedding, and we talked about her upcoming birthday.
“I’m lucky, lucky, lucky,” she announced in a sing-songy voice.
Though I can’t deny that life’s been kind to Gran, her good fortune hasn’t been random.
I lived at Gran’s house for a time in my early 20s. I’d considered myself pretty social until I found myself lying in bed at night, waiting to hear Gran return home from her latest shenanigan. Other days we’d sit in the living room working on sudoku puzzles. Sometimes I’d even join her in the basement as we “Walked Away the Pounds” with Leslie Sansone.
And Gran hasn’t stopped walking.
She got both of her knees replaced about 15 years ago, and she has put them to good use. Several years ago, Gran got an activity tracker when she learned she could earn rewards from her health insurance provider. Though they discontinued the rewards program, she kept walking. She does laps around her house and, on a trip to the beach in June, she walked laps on the deck.
Gran was recently named “Woman of the Year” at her church, Saint Jude the Apostle in Sandy Springs, Georgia. She claims she was chosen because she’s the oldest parishioner, but she failed to mention that she’s also a founding member and has volunteered at the church since its creation. Even to this day, Gran goes to the church to count money every week.
My grandfather died suddenly on December 31, 1999, leaving Gran widowed. Though I don’t remember many details about my family’s grieving process, I do know that I can’t recall a time when Gran felt sorry for herself. It seemed she accepted his death as a natural part of life and continued to do the things she loved. “Life goes on,” she says often.
Gran has never stopped putting one foot in front of the other, literally and figuratively.
When people learn my grandmother’s age, they often remark, “Oh, so you’ve got good genes.” And for the most part I do, minus the whole cystic fibrosis thing — a cause Gran has embraced and supported my entire life. How lucky I am to have such a sassy, spirited cheerleader.
Today we celebrate the majestic creature whom I call Gran.
And while she may think she’s the fortunate one, everyone who knows Gran would agree that we’re the ones who are lucky, lucky, lucky.