What a time we had at Havenwood, a retirement community in Concord. Over a hundred people made their way to the auditorium, some in wheel chairs, some on scooters, some with walkers, some high-steppin’ it. Everybody came prepared to laugh. We laughed together for an hour. It felt good. I’m convinced that stress kills and laughter heals. The last few years of my life have been the most stressed filled of my life. I can say that now, looking back. Didn’t quite realize it at the time. Think that’s fairly common. Laughter sustained me and sustains me still.
I read recently that peak happiness comes at age 85 (for those who last that long). Not sure I believe it altogether, certainly not for everyone — but it’s a nice thought. And I know a lot of people in their eighties and nineties and even Arline — 102 at her next birthday — who seem very happy indeed. They’ve shed their cares. They live in the moment. They are thankful for every day, despite aches and pains. This is a model for living.
At Havenwood, Dwight told the grand old story of the old time Vermonter (or Mainer or New Hampshirite) who when asked if he’d “Lived here all your life?” replied “So far.” That’s living in the moment.
Joyce told the story of standing at the door of the boys room at the elementary school and when each boy emerged asking if he’d remembered to wash his hands. All the boys said yes, until Ruff. “Did you wash your hands, Rufford,” she asked.
“No, Teacher,” he said. “I didn’t have to. I kept my mittens on.”
And this sweet childhood memory about a little boy, Jeff, with a speech impediment who tried to flirt with a little girl, a twin, in his class. She couldn’t seem to understand what he was saying and he got very frustrated, finally blurting out, clear as day: “Kiss my ass!”
The twin brother heard the exchange and confronted little Jeff. “You apologize to my sister or I’m going to pop you one.”
Jeff approached the offended little girl. He said, “I’m sorry for saying ‘Kiss your ass.’ You don’t have to. Me and your brother have made different arrangements.”
Archie told about a Sunday school gathering and a tempting table with a bowl of apples and a bowl of cookies. On the bowl of apples, an adult had posted a note: Take only one. God is watching. On the bowl of cookies, in a child’s scrawl, another note: Take as many as you want. God is watching the apples.”
And finally, something that will be familiar to many long-time couples. Bill said he and his partner, Casper, years ago — before the strict rules we have now — went to town hall to vote. Bill had his ID, but Casper had left his behind. Bill was on the checklist, but no sign of Casper, though they had registered in the same place at the same time weeks earlier. The checker of the checklist was baffled and determined to remedy the problem. Meanwhile, she said, “Go ahead in, Bill, and bring your dad with you.”