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 Texas : Features : Columns : Letters From North America :

Attitude

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry
Iím amazed at the attitudes of some of the people in my life. You meet people who are, say in their 70ís or 80ís and they think and act like they were in their 40ís or 50ís. Then again you meet people in their 40ís and 50ís who consider themselves old and worn out. I have a couple of friends, one is 85 and the other is 90 that can run circles around most of us.

I believe it all has to do with attitude. The ones who are still going at life with zest have a good, positive attitude in spite of all of their troubles over their years. On the other hand the ones who are ready to throw in the towel, no matter what age are mainly negative thinkers. All of us have troubles, I donít wish to downplay that point, but it does seem as if some folks are just able to handle life and our struggles better than others.

I was at a function this past weekend and an old friend of mine and his wife got to talking about attitudes. I told them the story about a lady I spoke with a couple of months ago. Her name is Florene Miller Watson. She was born in 1920, so that makes her almost 90. I had been looking through my Dadís WWII service records and noticed that he had been working for a jewelry store named Millers Jewelry in Odessa, Texas in 1941.I looked up the store on the internet and found that Mrs. Florene Miller Watson was something of celebrity and a lot had been written about her and her flying skills (http://www.brightok.net/~gsimmons/florene.htm) This lead me to think that perhaps she knew my Dad and might be able to tell me something new about him. I knew that he had enlisted in the Army Air Corp. before the war broke out and was curious to see if I could find out anything else about him. Maybe her father had influenced my Dad to sign up before the war started.

In doing some additional research I found an article recently written by a north Texas newspaper about Mrs. Watson. I contacted the reporter and obtained Mrs. Watsonís phone number. I called her and left a message on her recorder and then dialed again an hour or so later. Florene answered the phone and advised that she and her husband had been running some errands. I told her about my Dad and she said that she didnít remember him but that her sister might. She added that she didnít go in her fatherís store very often since she always wore pants and her father didnít like her to do so.

I asked her for her address and told her I would send her a photograph of my Dad to see if she might recognize him. She asked if I meant to send it by the post office. I told her yes I did and she asked if I didnít have a scanner. I told her of course I did and she saidÖ. ďWell, just scan it and e-mail it...and Iíll get it to my sister and weíll see if we remember himÖĒ

You could have knocked me over with a featherÖ..I donít think Iíve ever e-mailed anyone nearly 90 years old. I asked her if she still flew airplanes and she told me that she did once someone else had gotten them up in the air and could land them for her.

I did as she asked and received several e-mails from her as well as her sister.

This just goes to prove my point that you are only as old as you feel. Here is a woman who is bright as a penny and talked to me for nearly thirty minutes and is keeping up with todayís news and technology. On the other hand Iíve got friends and venture that you do as well, who gave up on progress years ago and keep living in the past rather than looking towards the future.

This life of ours is short enough as it is, but in my opinion we need to think of it as an adventure and a journey not a destination. There are no sure things in life, there are going to be things that break your heart, but we need to move on and keep looking for the better days in the future, not in the past.

I really like this quotation....which is said to have coined by Mark Twain. If it was, then he had the right idea.

"Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt and live like it's heaven on Earth."

© Peary Perry
Letters From North America
- May 19, 2010 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com
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