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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Guess Great Grandma Has to Live Another 3 Years

 Who knew there was a 3 year waiting list to get your face on the back of a smuckers jar? For those of you who are confused (if you're going to be friends with me, get use to it), let me try to explain. Every morning on the Today Show, they have a segment where people turning 100 (or older) get their faces and some nifty facts about themselves (like how they still play golf or bake apple pies) placed on the back of a smuckers jar. Willard Scott narrates this little showcasing, even though sometimes he's confused <insert drunk>. So being the avid Today show watcher that I am, it became my goal to get my great grandmother (who turned 100 this past Sunday) on this little segment. Just for the pleasure of watching Willard botch her name or refer to her as a man (like I said he gets confused a's pretty much like clockwork).

But much to my dismay, I found out that there is a 3 year waiting list. Apparently I was not the only one desperately seeking to see my loved ones face on the back of a smuckers jar. Ok Today show seriously do you not understand how old these people are? They might not have another 3 weeks, let alone 3 years. But what can you do, besides hope that great grandma hold's on a little bit longer. And after watching her whip around with her walker this weekend, I'm not worried. But for now I would like to share a few interesting facts about my great grandmother, Thelma Jackson (wish I knew more about her, but here goes):
  1. She was born 2 weeks after the Titanic crashed.
  2. She has 10 children, and all but one are still living.
  3. Combining all of her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren she has over 150.
  4. She is obsessed with Reese's peanut butter joke they have to ration them to her because she'll eat the entire bag in one sitting. Now see I believe that she should be allowed to eat the whole bag, I mean hello she's 100. It's a respect your elders kind of thing, right. Wrong, she get's 2 Reese's in the morning and 2 at night. And only if she eats her other meals.
  5. She's the oldest of 7 children, but only her little sister, Ester, is still alive. Ester is 92.
To add on to that last fact, it had been 2 years since Ester and my great grandmother had seen each other (it was at Ester's 90th birthday). When they first saw each other, they both cried (so of course I cried). And they held hands the entire time they were together (which also made me cry...and it's making me cry now...I'm a huge softy when it comes to older people). Another precious moment this weekend was when my 3 year old sister, Kaitlin, gave my great grandmother a Reese's peanut butter cup. Her whole face lit up (and yes I cried then too) and she thanked Kaitlin as if she had just given her a check for a million dollars. Not going to lie, I was surprised by my great grandmothers happiness (I know that sounds bad, but hey it's the truth).

I mean most of the time she's a pretty void of emotion <insert she just sits and stares at you, no smiles nothing>. After visiting her I usually leave feeling sorry for her. And I think Jesus why don't you just bring her on home, she seems so miserable. All weekend people kept saying how amazing it was that she was 100. And I agree to a certain extent and I'm not trying to be negative Nelly, but I know those 100 years haven't all been rainbows and sunshine. That there's been a lot of pain and loss. Loss of her parents, siblings, child, husband, friends, home, hobbies, dietary choices, and so much more.

To me it's understandable that she would be sad.I get that, I expect that. So I guess that's where the happiness throws me. I freak out when I lose a pair of earrings (which is often), I'm depressed for days. And regardless of everything my great grandmothers been through (more things then I'll ever know), despite all that she's lost, she can smile about a piece of chocolate wrapped in gold foil. What? Are you serious? I'm not even sure where to go from here, because I'm still processing everything. But I  know that there is something pretty profound to be learned here. If nothing else we humans are resilient. If you happen to catch the smuckers jar segment remember that (oh and look for signs that Willard Scott is drunk). Hope you enjoyed this not fully thought out blog.

That's a portrait painted by one of her sons, and a letter from Willard <3

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