For four years, my family lived in a charming Jackson, MS neighborhood called Fondren. The University of MS Medical Center is located in Jackson and that is where my husband went to med school, thus the reason we lived there for a period of time.
It just so happened that our next-door neighbor in Fondren was one of the coolest people we have ever met! In her later 90’s when we lived beside her, Mrs. Ruth Priester is a beautiful, funny, blunt, intelligent and capable senior citizen.
Zooming through the neighborhood in her brand new, shiny Volvo, she would always stop and roll down her window if we were out walking, and say something clever about us or the kids, usually giving us a hard time. She often asks if our son is ever still or quiet and calls him “the mouthpiece”. Haha!!
Mrs. Priester does not cook nor have the first hint of supplies for cooking in her kitchen, Well you know that’s my specialty and the way I love to bond with people…So when we lived beside her, once a week, we would gather pots and pans and ingredients and take them next door to prepare a meal in her kitchen. Every time, she completely set the table with china and all the flatware…even though we told her we were happy with paper plates. We would gather around her small kitchen table to share a meal and have conversations about anything and everything. She had many intriguing stories to share but was always much more interested in our life. She was always quick to put us on the spot by asking direct questions. She would also crack jokes about how old she was.
Last month, Mrs. Priester turned 100 YEARS OLD!! Yeah, that’s right! I have a Centenarian friend!
It’s been almost 5 years since we moved away from Fondren. So last weekend, we went to visit her and let me tell you, nothing has changed! This amazing lady still looks and acts just the same! She still has a clever sense of humor. Her hair was still perfectly styled. She gets around very well with her cane. She also enjoyed entertaining our kids with a little game she had at her house.
We spent the afternoon in her perfectly tidy, attractively decorated living room. She had a stack of intimidating books on the coffee table. When I asked her if she had read them all, she replied “Over a number of years I expect I’ve read most of them.”
I asked Mrs. Priester if she had any advice about life for us. She was far too humble to advise us in anything, crediting her good health to just having good genes. As long as I have known her, she has always answered the question “How are you?” with this response: “Better than I deserve.” There is probably much to be learned from that right there.
It’s so good to have friends in a wide range of ages…older and younger. What better way is there to gain different perspectives and inspiration in life? Who, of your friends (younger or older), inspires you most today?