I showed Gladys my medal from Grandma's and told her I got it for running a marathon this weekend. "Good grief, I'll bet you were tired!" she exclaimed. She's so dang cute I want to put her in my pocket and keep her forever. "Yeah, I was pretty tired," I agreed.
"You know I used to love to run," she began. "You did?!" I quickly prompted, automatically chalking up just one more reason why I love this woman. "Oh, yes. My sister, she would stay in the house and read a book, but I would always want to go outside and run. Not for any reason, just to run. I think I thought it felt good."
"I think it feels good, too." I smiled.
"Just moving feels good," she continued. "I played basketball in school, too. Boy, I loved that." Gladys is positively tiny, and not just little old lady tiny. You can tell she's been a little person her whole life. Basketball?! I can't imagine this, and tell her so. "Oh, honey, I played all through school. I was the center." I asked her if she was taller than the other kids in her class...I just can't visualize this little wisp of a thing as the center on a basketball team (nor did I have any idea that girls even had a basketball team 75 years ago!) "No, I wasn't really taller than anyone, but I sure could jump...thanks to Mama!" Gladys says this with that ever-present twinkle in her eye.
"Your Mama taught you how to jump?" I asked.
"Oh yeah, with the gad," she laughs as she swooshes her hand back in forth in front of her. Of course I had to ask what on earth a gad was. She explained, "Mama must have called it a gad since she was Irish, but really it was just a piece of a shrub or tree and she'd swat our legs with it to teach us a lesson. I'd always start crying before she ever even swatted me, but that didn't help any. So I learned to jump, which made me a pretty good basketball player!"
I tell Gladys that it sounds as though she's been turning lemons into lemonade her entire life. "You know, I don't see much use in not being happy," she says. "Like some people around here, they sit around all day and say I wish I would die or why don't I die, well all I have to say about that is that I wish they would die already and leave the rest of us happy people alone!"
Well said, Gladys. Well said.
6 months ago