My grandmother lived to be 99 years old. We called her “Nano,” and she was in remarkably good health for most of her years, keeping an active church life and painting landscapes up until she was about 95. I doubt that anyone would have predicted her longevity—her brother and sister died at relatively young ages, and she was a lifelong smoker. Somewhere in the midst of my obnoxious teenage years, I started calling her the old bat—I cannot believe now that my parents didn’t smack me good, but she loved it. It gave her a certain status in the collection of her grandchildren’s friends who were in and out of the house.
My favorite story about Nano has to do with her assault on turning 100, and it is a story we are not sure is true. The last five years of her life, she lived to hear Willard Scott (the NBC Today Show weatherman, for you youngsters) call her name out on air, which he did each week for folks who had passed the century mark. But she died about two months prior to her 100th birthday. Six months later, my mother shared with me that she had taken possession of the family Bible and some other records, and there was no mention of Florence Hogue until the age of 14 or so—there was a Myrtle who dropped out of the family annals about that time who was about 16. My mom is not sure, but she thinks Nano might have changed her name and age as a teenager—becoming something of a spinster in the eyes of that era—and if so, she seems not to have told anyone. Of course, those of you who are quick with the math will realize that if this is true, she made it to 100, but she couldn’t tell anyone, not even her only child, that she had been living a lie for most of her life. Great story, and if it isn’t true, it should be.
Well, many of you are aware that we have in our midst, a dear lady who is about to turn one hundred—honestly and without challenge. On Sunday, September 23rd, Catherine Cubberley will do what only 1 in almost 6,000 Americans do. We should celebrate.
And celebrate we shall. The Elders are working at getting Catherine and her friends and family to be with us for our worship service that Sunday, and we will hold a reception at 11am following the 10am service to greet Mrs. Cubberley, share a few stories and honor her remarkable accomplishment. Plans are just starting, but you can rest assured that there will be cake . . . perhaps a party hat or two . . . and who knows what else. So, all of you get along over to the Hallmark store and get yourself a card to bring with you that day.
The only thing left to say is that five months from now, we will do it all over again as we help Jim Boswell celebrate his 100th. And the only other thing left to say after that is that while we celebrate these lives, we find ourselves giving thanks for the blessed lifetime of faith and witness that has been poured out in our midst. Catherine and Jim—thanks be to God for generous lifetimes of love and grace poured out before us.
Blessings and Peace,
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These thoughts and reflections come from our Senior Minister, Minister of Music and Board Chair. We hope that they provide both challenge and inspiration for your spiritual life.