Saturday, February 19, 2005


When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens . . .
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

by Jenny Joseph

this poem really struck a chord w/ me as i tend to think i'm going to do just as i please as i get older. this is a trait that i learned from a long line of matriarchs before me, and i don't want to let them down. my grandmother was one of the strongest women that i've ever known, and she did everything with grace, poise, and control. nothing ever rattled her composure. as she was nearing 90 years of age, the doctor suggested that she cut back on her salt intake. she calmly looked at the doctor and said, "do you realize that 'salt' is mentioned in the bible over 800 times? i'm almost 90, and i'll eat salt when i want to." amazingly, he agreed. well, maybe not. but he didn't have the nerve to argue the point w/ her.

i've always been a "rock-the-boat" type of person, but i had my own agenda on boat-rocking. i didn't rock the boat when others expected it or when everyone else was, but when i truly believed in something. as i get older, i'm more tempted to rock the boat more often. especially as i watch my first grandchild experience life. rebellion, not absolute obediance, shows that learning is taking place and that a personal opinion and ability to express that opinion is taking place. i so enjoy watching her flex her budding personality.

after reading WARNING, someone emailed me a parody of the poem WHEN I GET OLD . . . this reminded me totally of how i intend to be. i intend to do exactly what i want, regardless of whether the people around me approve or not. it's finally my time to do as i please, and i intend to take full advantage of the situation. for all those times my children embarrassed or infuriated me -- there will be some getting even in the future.

When I get old, I'll live with my kids,
and make their life happy and filled with such fun.
I want to pay back all the joy they've provided,
returning each deed. Oh, they'll be so excited.

. . .When I get old and live with my kids.

I'll write on the wall with red, white, and blue;
and bounce on the furniture wearing my shoes.
I'll drink from the carton and then leave it out.
I'll stuff all the toilets and oh, they'll shout.

. . .When I get old and live with my kids.

When they're on the phone and just out of reach,
I'll get into things like sugar and bleach.
Oh, they'll snap their fingers and then shake their head,
and when that is done I'll hide under the bed.

. . .When I get old and live with my kids.

When they cook dinner and call me to meals,
I'll not eat my green beans or salads congealed.
I'll gag on my okra, spill milk on the table,
and when they get angry, run fast as I'm able.

. . .When I get old and live with my kids.

I'll sit close to the TV, thru the channels I'll click.
I'll cross both my eyes to see if they stick.
I'll take off my socks and throw one away,
and play in the mud until the end of the day.

. . .When I get old and live with my kids.

And later in bed, I'll lay back and sigh,
and thank God in prayer and then close my eyes;
and my kids will look down with a smile slowly creeping,
and say with a groan, "she's so sweet when she's sleeping."

. . .When I get old and live with my kids.

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