Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Life Well Lived

Ms. Mabel on her 100th birthday with our State Representative, Mike McDonald.

One of my favorite songs, “Don’t Blink” by country music singer Kenny Chesney, describes the brevity of our life, our short thread in the tapestry of human history; “100 years goes faster than you think, so don’t blink.”

No one knew that better than a dear friend of our family and our hometown community, Ms. Mabel McDole. Ms. Mabel passed away this past Sunday morning at the age of 100.

An evening with friends. Ms. Mabel is in the white dress.

I suppose it was fitting she passed away on the anniversary of an important date in our country’s history, always a very patriotic woman, she serenaded guests who had gathered this past May 27 to celebrate with her on the day she became a centenarian with “God Bless America”, but probably more important to her was that she hung on until the birthday of her husband, Mr. Graidon, who passed away in 2005 at the age of 99. I heard someone say she left just in time to celebrate with him.

A former school teacher, she began in the profession as a teenager. Erma Fuqua, 89, who was in first grade when Ms. Mabel taught there, had this to say about her, "She taught us right from wrong. She is the best teacher I ever had." And, yes, you read that correctly. One of her former students is now 89!

Playing cards with friends. Ms. Mabel is in the back.

I, myself, never had Ms. Mabel as a teacher but I remember hearing stories about her and have enjoyed knowing her as an adult through my husband’s association with her family.

Each Halloween we always made a point to take, first Ren, and then both children trick-or-treating at the McDole home and, of course, she always invited us to come in and visit for a few minutes, too. Once, ever with an eye for well made clothing, she remarked how nice my daughter’s costume was. Ren was in first grade and I had had a Wicked Witch of the West ensemble made for her from a Simplicity pattern, complete with sleeves that were puffy at the top and fitted below the elbow, a separate drawstring corset, and large woolen cape. We were very pleased with how it all turned out and, it seemed, Ms. Mabel approved, too, stating, “Oh, honey. You can tell that’s not a store-bought costume."

Halloween 2007 with John-Heath.

Halloween 2008 J-H and Ms. Mabel

Halloween 2009

John-Heath's last Halloween to visit with her. By Halloween of 2010 she had moved into assisted living.

At her recent birthday she remarked, “It seems like I'm turning 16. I feel real young and happy!" and that “It's wonderful to be 100, and to have wonderful friends."

We should all be so fortunate. Goodbye, Ms. Mabel.

Ren with Ms. Mabel on her 100th birthday!

"You best start puttin' first things first."
'Cause when your hour glass runs out of sand
You can't flip it over and start again.
Take every breath God gives you for what it's worth.
Don't blink.”

1 comment:

Farmchick said...

How wonderful that you knew this lady. It sounds like she lived a rich life and truly had an impact on many.