I have a friend who is on the verge of turning the BIG 50. She has been blogging with great humor of the aches, pains, wrinkles, loss of eye-sight, and all other delightful issues that go with the inevitable. How she pulls humor out of something that would otherwise be depressing is beyond me, but she does. (Check her out at 49andcounting.wordpress.com) Since I am much, much younger, I have some time before I hit the day that AARP starts sending me greetings in my mailbox. I do confess reading glasses are my constant friend, although I never know if they are on my head, stuck in my shirt or where the several pairs I have scattered to the 4 winds have landed. Honestly, I haven’t really thought about it too much this natural phenomenon.
Last night I was looking in the mirror at my shoulders and arms. Spots are starting to show up from all the sun damage of the last 48 years. Oh yes, I live in Kansas, the Sunburn Capitol of the World. Even when you really, really try, the sun does some sneaky tricks and before you know it, you are glowing like a red-hot poker and bathing in aloe vera. Thoughts of my grandma, who is almost 96, made me giggle. She always says she is ‘as freckled as a turkey egg.” A truer statement has never been spoken. She is a canvas of all sorts of spots, speckles and blotches. There are more of them than there are her natural fair Irish skin tones. Trips of hauling us grandkids to the creek with a jug of limeade and weenies to roast had to added a blemish or two. Not only did she bake at the swimming pool with my brother and me, she would load up her car with towels, blow up dinosaurs and her lawn chair for my kids as well. She had to be pushing 80 at that time. Hours and hours on her beloved golf course have contributed to the condition. We won’t even go into all the meals to wheat fields, time spent in the garden, or dressing chickens for half the county. If her eyesight and knees didn’t hamper her, she would probably still be taking walks on the creek and climbing the barn ladder to feed the cats. She is truly a testament of living life to the absolute fullest.
So, instead of seeing these spots as unwelcome in my mirror, I see softball and baseball tournaments spent on bleachers watching my kids hit it out of the park and my husband in his coaching element. In my younger days, there was always a push to wear long sleeves at the high school rodeos, but once out of the arena, bring on the t-shirt. Those great experiences got me out of Comanche County and to experience other people and places. Speaking of teen years, what about the combo of baby oil and iodine to get that savage tan? I’m sure the FDA has declared this a lethal substance by now. We were voluntarily were basting ourselves like an episode of “Great Barbeque Cook-offs”. Regardless, I am so glad that I didn’t miss the time well spent with friends even if no SPFs were involved. Moving cattle, working in the wheat field, painting and mowing, well, I’d much rather spend my time outside than inside any day-even if it means an extra sunspot or two. I do believe that even a Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty or two have made their appearance on my map of speckled history. In fact, I already have my seeds ordered for Cliff and my date with our garden as soon as the winter says ‘good-bye”.
So slather me up with sunscreen as I’m not asking for skin cancer or pain, but don’t expect me to stay inside and not kick up my heels over some brown spots. My Grandma Olive is one of the most beautiful women I know for she has taken advantage of every moment that God has given her. I don’t care if I am polka-dotted as one of Lucille Ball’s dresses. I am embracing that my body is a walking scrapbook. I can only hope to someday wear the hallowed ‘Turkey Egg’ crown with as much grace and style as Grandma does.