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110 years and still kickin’

This writer had a pleasant surprise this past Saturday. I had an opportunity to sit down and talk with a rather witty lady who will be celebrating her 110 birthday on September 2. Yes, that age is correct, 110. That is by far the eldest person with whom I have ever talked. Prior to that was a man 102.
I am writing a full column on her for another newspaper and after several minutes of conversation I told her I was going to take her photo, and, because I am not that hot at taking photos for publication, I would be taking several snaps. She looked at me with a half-smile and remarked, “Young man this had better be good as I’m looking for another man!” Everyone in the room, of which there were several, broke out in laughter. She merely smiled and went on with her conversation.
Last week I read a story in one of the local dailies that said it is believed the oldest person in the world is one Edna Parker, Shelbyville, Ind. She is 114, only four years senior to my column subject.

Her name is Lona Snodgrass and she has had a rather surprising life from a medical standpoint. She has had almost no serious illnesses down through the years, according to her son, until the past couple of years. She has developed some serious skin cancers which doctors did surgery this past Monday.
Snodgrass had five children: one died as an infant, two died of spinal meningitis as ages 5 and 6 and the other two are still living just a door or two away from her. She has a daughter 85, currently in rehab with a broken hip and a son, 77, who is in good health. This fantastic lady made it with me when she called me “young” for I too will shortly be 77.
The term “old age” has really changed in my lifetime. I can well remember when someone in the sixties was “old.” Back 50 years ago the average life span was in the lower 60s as I recall.
My family, on both sides, has a tendency to be long lifers. I had two aunts who died at about ages 45 and 60 with cancer and an uncle who died at 67 with a heart attack. Others have lived well into their 70s, 80s or 90s and I currently have an uncle and aunt living at 102 and 100. Another aunt is 94. The 102-year-old uncle is quite active and lives alone. A lady stays with him only during the days. We are stretching it out throughout the United States.
Yet, worldwide, we are still only about eighth or ninth in the world in life expectancy. Within the past month or two I read the most recent statistics but don’t remember what countries are ahead of us.
As we go through our lives today there aren’t many of us that do not know at least one person that has topped the century mark. For the past number of years the US President has been sending cards to those hitting the century mark He is sending out more cards each year. My subject, has one that is ten years old and just received one for her 110th from her congresswoman.
I hope to meet the century mark in good health. Don’t we all?
Such are the people, places and things that have touched my life in my West Virginia home!.
Don Springer can be reached at touchlife@worldnet.att.net.