Ninety is the new sixty. At least for my grandma, “Mama C”. She turned 90 on February 17, 2012 surrounded by her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. What a celebration this was!
Initially, we thought we would have a huge bash with all of her friends. Instead, she opted for a dinner party with family only. In explaining her decision to me she said, “Dearheart, when you are 90, there are no men still around. We wouldn’t have anyone to dance with. And so then people would make speeches and say how wonderful I am. But I already know that I am wonderful, so we don’t need that.”
There is so much to celebrate about Mama C. She is full of life, wit, charm, compassion and grace. She has more friends than God, but her family is always number one. The life of the party, she always has a smart comment on politics or a funny story.
So she is 90 now. She lives alone. She drives. She makes my busy sister a casserole for her family every Sunday for the week ahead. She plays bridge and sometimes poker. She hosts or attends a “splash party” (aka happy hour) several nights a week with her best friends, Bonnie and Bev and drinks vodka tonics. Always dressed for the occasion, be it a pink polo, pink chinos, and matching pink Keds for casual stroll through the grocery store, or a silk shift, matching organza jacket and Ferragamo pumps for her 90th birthday party, the woman has style.
There is perhaps no one I love having lunch with more than Mama C. First of all, she knows all the hot spots in Charlotte. “This is where all the kids are going…” she tells my out of the loop self. Second, she is one of the more informed people I know. She knows EVERYTHING in the news – from the Charlotte Observer to CNN to Time magazine. She also asks lots of questions about me, my work, my dreams and my love life. Not only does she ask questions… but she asks really good ones. Ones that make me think for a while. “Why is Haiti in the situation it is? What will it take for the lives of ordinary Haitians to improve?” After she asks these questions, she listens. I mean really listens. Listens to you in a way you feel you are the most important voice on the planet.
We happen to have the same liberal political leanings, so I love hearing her muse on the current political situation. I called her last week to find out what was going on in the states. She told me about Rush Limbaugh’s most egregious comments and our crazy Senate and their unnecessary and unwanted interventions in the area of women’s reproductive health. “We have a war against women going on here. Our country is going crazy. We have got our own personal Taliban in the United States.” On the upcoming election she tells me, “Everyone is saying that this upcoming presidential election is going to be incredibly close. Me, I am going to be terribly disappointed if it is anything but a landslide for the Democrats.” Well said, Mama C. I love women who say it like it is and are not afraid to have strong opinions. We need more of them.
Life of the party, favorite lunch partner, witty political commentator, loving grandma, dyed in the wool Democrat, wonderful listener, icon of style: I can’t wait for your hundredth!