It’s a Good Life.
Jonathan and I had a fabulous time last weekend visiting my grandparents, who migrate to Sebring about 6 months out of the year. As Pawpaw said, “It’s not the Taj Mahal,” but it has been home to them for the last 9 winters.
They live in Orange Villa, a community with people 55 years old and up. (The oldest is currently 95. It was heartbreaking to hear them talk about coming back to the park each November, only to discover who “didn’t make it.”) Residents meet regularly at the park Clubhouse for skits, shuffle board, and fellowship. Jonathan and I got to partake in their banana split bar on Sundays at 4:00 p.m. Mmm…
Most residents drive golf carts around the park; my grandparents stick to their Schwinn bicycles, which are older than me. That’s their frugal way. Pawpaw readily admits, “I’m cheap.” (He grew up during the depression and was lucky to get an orange for Christmas.) Grams hangs out their towels to dry to save electricity, cuts coupons regularly, and hand washes used ziplock bags. Pawpaw does his part by waiting for the half-off sale at the local Dollar Store to buy his pecan logs.
At the Hopkins home, breakfast consists of “birds nest” (fiber) cereal and fresh grapefruit. Sometimes a banana, if they were on sale. “Dinner” refers to lunch and “supper” is the evening meal, which is always early. If you want a table at the local diner, you best show up no later than 5:15 p.m. As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. They treated us to Golden Corral before we came home, which was a sea of grey hair. As we were walking out, Grams commented, “I’m glad to get out of there. It was filled with old people!” (Ha.)
After supper our first night, we joined Grams and Pawpaw in their Saturday ritual of watching Lawrence Welk. On Sunday evening, we played cards and kept them up until 10:30 p.m. (past their bedtime). We heard stories about their parents, my Uncle Mike (who passed away when he was 15), and what it takes to be married for 60 years.
Grams advised, “Let him think he’s right.” Pawpaw said, “Let her jabber and think you’re listening.” They both agreed, “Not to take things personally, be committed, keep Christ at the center, and tithe.”
Grams and Pawpaw’s only complaint about being in Florida is that they don’t get to watch many Purdue games, though their TV is usually on the Weather Channel or Fox News.
They live in a world untarnished by the fast pace of ever-changing technology. They get along just fine with their dial-up Internet connection, which is mostly used for e-mail. They own a cell phone, even though their 300 minutes a month are reserved for emergencies. Pawpaw was fascinated with our touch-screen cell phones. He had never heard of wi-fi and was confused about “ipads or ipods or whatever they are.”
It’s a simple life, really, but it’s a good life.