I’m looking great for my age

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I have never thought about the statement &uot;Life is short,&uot; until I turned 60 on Jan. 27. That’s when it hit me that I probably have more years behind me than in front of me.

Whenever I get depressed about aging, I focus my thoughts on three great role models in aging: the Rev. Dr. C.J. Word, pastor emeritus at East End Baptist Church; Georgia Pope, my beautician; and entertainer Tina Turner.

Word will be 95 on Feb. 22 and if you read the story in the first Horizons edition on Feb. 1, you learned that he is exercising and still doing public teaching and preaching.

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I started going to Pope, 81, at the age of 15. Back then, because of the length and thickness of my hair and the style that I had done then, it took her about 1 1/2 hours because extra dryer time was needed. However, now she shampoos, presses and curls my hair in an hour and 15 minutes. I joke her about this fact every time I go there because age does not seem to be slowing her down.

And as for Tina Turner, she speaks for herself. At 64, she doesn’t miss a beat dancing in those high heels when giving a performance. She was feisty and energy-filled at Oprah Winfrey’s 50th Birthday Bash on the weekend of Jan. 30.

Winfrey and I both share January birthdays – except she only she is 10 years younger than me.

But we do have other things in common. We are under the sign of Aquarius and love to have fun, dance and talk with people from all walks of life. We both have best friends named Gail (Gayle) and we both love birthday bashes.

To celebrate her 50th, she had about five bashes in one weekend. Entertainers from all over the United States and abroad called or made an appearance at her parties to wish her a happy birthday.

Her other bashes included a garden party with 50 female friends, and a black tie event in Santa Barbara, Calif. with 250 invited friends. Oprah said that the black tie event made her feel like &uot;queen of the ball,&uot; that she never felt more loved than she did that entire weekend.

Now look, ya’ll, Oprah Winfrey doesn’t have anything on me. I also had exciting bashes where I felt like a queen; they just weren’t as extravagant.

For some reason though, I just couldn’t make myself or anyone else give me a bash when I am turned 60.

At 52, I had one at the former &uot;Super 8 Motel&uot; and my News-Herald friends decorated a rented ball room, prepared food, and acted out a skit of my life at work. At 56, I had one at the DAV building on Saratoga Street, where Ross Boone served as the emcee for an activity called,

&uot;This Is Your Life Evelyn.&uot;

At that time friends, employees, and family had the chance to step up to the podium to say something – be it good or bad – about me. Of course, they couldn’t find much bad to say – or else they just kept their thoughts to themselves.

Here at the office, we have monthly birthday luncheons to collectively honor everyone whose special day is that month. Each one of us is treated very special at that time, just as four of us were on Jan. 23. Other January birthdays were Harvey White, Luefras Robinson and Leslie Burkey.

On the day of my birthday, some employees went a little further and treated me to dinner at Fire Mountain. I was also surprised by two very good out-of-town friends during the week to treat me to dinner-one on Jan. 30 , the other on Jan. 31. Each one drove at least three hours to get here.

I am very grateful for friends and family like these and the ones who gave me cards, presents, monetary gifts, and balloon. Some even came to the office to deliver them. Oprah said that her bashes and gifts made her feel appreciated and loved. She couldn’t have felt more appreciated and loved than I did during my birthday week.

Now, I would like to know the answer to one question. Some people tell me that I don’t look 60. I am asking you, what is 60 supposed to look like?

&uot;What is your secret?&uot; They ask me.

In one sentence, no boozing, no smoking, laughing a lot, traveling dancing, and just living life to the fullest.

Because I am constantly on the go. A friend said to me once, &uot;You are going to fall flat on your face if you don’t slow down.&uot; To that statement I told her that I am going to go while I can because one day I may not be able to any more. In other words, I feel on top of the world and when I think of the alternative, it is better to be on top of it than to be buried six feet under it.

During her bashes, Oprah’s friends and staff brought in people who made songs with titles

to what they thought about her. Stevie Wonder sang &uot;Happy Birthday To You &uot; and &uot;You Are The Sunshine Of My Life.&uot; Tina Turner sang, &uot;Your Are The Best, Better Than All The Rest&uot; and the songs and entertainers went on and on. However, one song stuck out that I said everyone should get and play to the ones they love over and over again. The name of the song is &uot;You Lift Me Up&uot; by Josh Groman. The main verse reads as follows: &uot;You lift me up so I can stand on mountains, you raise me up to walk on stormy seas. I am strong when I am on your shoulders, you raise me up to more than I can be.

My friends and the community (with their gifts, appreciation and honor plaques and certificates) have done exactly this for me for the majority of my 60 years. On Saturday, Feb. 14, you have the chance to do same for your companion, friend, husband or wife by remembering them on that special day.

Happy Valentine’s Day.