By Rosie Preston
I was so excited when I realized my special birthday age would arrive on the day The Messenger was published, the main reason being that my first six articles were published in The Messenger newspaper in 1998. Shortly after that, I went to work selling advertising and writing for TV News Shopper until 2006, when the company went out of business. So I’m honored to have the title of being an honest and down-to-earth published columnist for many years. It is one of my many blessings!
Yes, life is simpler when a person is young. One thing I frequently think of is the fact that I cannot allow my great-grandchildren to play outside alone because of the increased danger. I was lucky to have grown up near Noccalula Falls and surrounded by woods. It was nothing for us to travel along the Black Creek that runs into the falls. We never saw a snake, but I would bet many snakes saw us, for sure, as we were surrounded by bushes and trees. We would shovel the bottom of a ditch to dam the water, using rocks to make it deeper. We would catch any living thing in our little plastic buckets. There was no fear!
When I was in my younger years, I remember everyone owned a black and white television, which only had two channels to watch, 6 and 13.We were probably as happy for the TV sets changing to color as my great-grandchildren are to watch games, videos and songs they can tune into on phones or tablets.
My friends and I often talk about arriving at this age, and we feel so happy to be there for each other. I’ve been friends with some of them since we were 13 years old. In past years, we celebrated birthdays by meeting at a public restaurant. Now, it is almost impossible to get several friends together to celebrate. We speak about the memories of the time during which we could hardly wait to graduate from high school. Back then, it seemed that high school graduates made one of two choices – attend school or get married. Many of us tried to do both! Some of us had children and grandchildren, and it’s unbelievable that I’m probably the only one being able to admit of having seven great-grandchildren!
I ’ve enjoyed many birthdays as my doctor often tells me! I’m aware of my age and of slowing down because of COVID-19 changing our lives so much, but I’m determined to stay as healthy as possible. The last two years have been difficult because of unplanned issues, but we adapted. Our 15-year old granddaughter had to be on the computer at home for a few months instead of going to school, and it was very tough on her. I later learned that it affected our entire population of children, who often fell into depression and did not feel motivated. I’m trusting that they do not have to go back to that situation, but we will do whatever the school authorities decide.
My faith in God has been the foundation of me getting through so many situations that I thought would surely destroy me mentally and physically. For that, I thank my dear mother (who passed away because of the COVID-19 virus) for taking me to church from the time I was a baby. There were times when I knelt in prayer to say, “God, my sins and the sins of those I love are breaking my heart with doubt, grief and sadness so unbearable, and no one knows this but you. So please help and give me strength to get through this time.”
There is no shame in sharing this prayer, because it’s true! On Friday, February 4, I will be 70 years old. I’ve lived long enough to have experienced great times and horrible times. I’ve seen many family members and friends pass away. But there also have been many miracle babies born, and my heart swelled when each one entered this world. Those times have been a wonderful experience. I often, look at them and thank God that I’ve lived this long to have shared time with them. There is never a sad moment when they are around. They bring love, happiness and joy into our lives.
The following is a poem I wrote in third grade.
Star shines bright
I’d like to be a beautiful star
And climb the highest mountains far
And talk to birds as they fly by
And watch the clouds roam through the sky
I’d like to gleam all through the night
With my bright star light
This is what I’d like to be
But all I am is just plain me
Happy Birthday to me, and I send love to you and all my family and friends!
Keep Smiling, Rosie
Contact Rosie Preston at firstname.lastname@example.org.