Yesterday night I had the unique opportunity to have dinner with a 91 year old woman at her home in Nashville. The backstory: some college friends of mine won a candlelight gourmet dinner through a silent auction at their church to raise money for the church youth group. They invited us as their "plus two" to have dinner with them. The dinner was to be prepared by Mrs. Beverly St. John (so cool that she even has a Wikipedia article about her), referred to in Southern speak as "Miss Beverly". She was full of stories, a little hard of hearing and is an amazing lady.
She told us (after a dinner of pork tenderloin and saffron rice, yum!) that she was born during the first World War, during the first swine flu pandemic of 1918. Her father actually had the flu and was not allowed to see her until she was 2 weeks old, because they were afraid she would could catch it. She went on to relate to us how she met her husband (through friends at church) and how they went about their courtship (he mailed her the engagement ring in the mail) and only went out with her when there was a chaperone present (something I think some kids probably need now).
She also related how she was married to her husband for 50 years and that her husband was a "traveling man", or a salesman. She gave us young folks advice on how to raise your kids (encourage their questions and listen to what they have to say). She gave us the secret to a good, long marriage (respect, then love each other). She said that being a parent is good, but that being a grandparent is even better. She even wrote books about her advice on parenting and gave us a copy of one.
There is a Yoruba proverb that says "when an old person dies, a library is lost". On this Mother's Day, I challenge you to talk to a relative, neighbor or friend who may seem like a throwback to another era; but like Miss Beverly, at a spry 91 years of age, is a library filled with volumes of wisdom.