Sunday, July 2, 2017

When I'm An Old Woman

Yesterday I took the camera monopod my son-in-law Ken sent me a couple years ago, to use as a walking aid because my knee has been giving out on me. It really helped as we walked around Doug's yard, admiring the chickens, garden, flowers, etc.
I also used it as it was intended, to steady my camera, while I took photos at the Freedom Rock.
As much as I appreciated the comfort of its stability, I can't help it, it made me feel OLD. Which is probably why I thought of one of my favorite poems by Jenny Joseph:


When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat* that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me,
And I shall spend my pension
On brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals
and say we've no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired,
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells,
And run my stick along the public railings,
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens,
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat,
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go,
Or only bread and pickle for a week,
And hoard pens and pencils and beer mats
and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry,
And pay our rent and not swear in the street,
And set a good example for the children.
We will have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me
are not too shocked and surprised,
When suddenly I am old
and start to wear purple!

This poem became popular around 1990 - at least in the Midwest. I know I was at Graham Group at the time and was delighted to find a lavender tee shirt in Boesen's flower and gift shop in the 801 Grand building across the street from my office.

I loved the tee and wore it out which is why I was happy to find another just like it at a garage sale years later. This one is still in good shape mainly because I hardly ever wear it. What was fun and funny to acknowledge at age 50+ isn't nearly as fun at age 73+!

I do still love the poem though and as I typed it out I thought about how well some of the lines suit me. (Picking [or digging] flowers in other people's gardens.) I don't press alarm bells, but if there's a display of wind chimes I have to waft them all to hear their melodious tones.

The poem reminds me that even if I have to use a cane or walking stick I don't have to let that make me feel old. It's all about my perception of myself and how I feel in my mind.
I can spit fairly well.

*The Red Hat Society was founded because of this poem.

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