When Dr. Ganus thinks ahead about another trip down the Mississippi River, he knows that the time to start thinking about it is now. We know that’s a good idea for nonagenarians, but sometimes it’s hard to remember that it is a good idea for each of us.
I recently visited with a single friend who lives in a small town in Kentucky. I’ll call her Nancy Hanson. Nancy’s 97-year-old mother lived near her until a couple of years ago when she moved near Nancy’s brother and his wife in Chicago. Mrs. Hanson lives alone on the eighth floor of a retirement home in downtown Chicago, very near the Museum of Science and Industry. She is on the one-meal-a-day plan at the retirement home; for the rest, she is free to do as she pleases. Mrs. Hanson enjoys eating out with friends, as long as they will eat at what she thinks is a sensible hour, like about 7:00 p.m., and not at 4:30 with the rest of the elderly crowd.
I asked Nancy how often she sees her mother now; she sees her every couple of months. Not too many years ago, Nancy bought a camper. A couple of years ago, she and her mother took off on a road trip to revisit places that had been important in their lives and in the life of Nancy’s dad, who is now deceased.
The very first day of their trip, mother and daughter traveled for twelve hours. Nancy said she had already made reservations for a campground and that when she planned their travel for that day, she forgot about Minnesota! I am super-impressed by a 95-year-old woman who can travel twelve hours in one day and by a mother and daughter who can do that by themselves!
Nancy took her mother first South Dakota. They visited the state capital of Pierre, where the family had lived when Nancy was small. They saw the sights in the Badlands.
Nancy and her mother also visited Mount Rushmore, before heading north to Minot, North Dakota, to visit friends.
They visited Minnesota where Mr. Hanson had grown up and got together with his relatives there.
The big finale was a trip to Iowa where Mrs. Hanson had grown up. There a niece, who had been very busy with a daughter’s “over the top” wedding, added another task to her to-do list. She contacted Mrs. Hanson’s relatives and surprised her with a family reunion. A relative who owned a restaurant closed it for the day so that the family could enjoy the company of their 95-year-old sister, aunt, and cousin. One hundred relatives gathered to celebrate their family. Many came from Iowa, but at least two, in their 80s themselves, arrived from California and Arizona.
All those relatives knew exactly what they needed to do that day–they needed to be together. I wonder what it is that you and I need to do this very day.
But encourage one another day after day,
as long as it is still called “Today.”