Inspiration from my elders Print
Grand Mom
Thursday, Sep. 15, 2011 -- 12:00 AM

grand mom

Remember how you always looked up to the “older” ones?

When you were four, they were the six-year-olds; they went to school. But when you got to school yourself, it was the eighth graders who were the big shots, and to them it was the high school kids, who looked up to the college kids, etc.

Despite loving the 20 years I spent as a full time homemaker, I looked forward to a career and then it was retirement that seduced me. Wouldn’t you think by the time I reached my 80s I’d have stopped admiring “older” folks? I might have, but now there’s Gordy Simonson.

Inspiring vitality

Gordy was in his 90s when he first inspired me. I marveled at his energy when I’d see him planting and tending to the flowers around our church.

He wintered in Florida for 36 years so that he could golf year round, and he rode his bike daily.

When he had been widowed for a year, he met the lovely, vivacious Doris on the golf course. Within a year they were married; long courtships don’t work when you’re 84.

Some say that Doris has kept Gordy alive. She prepares him healthy meals and they have a daily routine that includes a brisk early morning walk with other seniors in the halls of our local hospital, a bike ride later in the day, and a nightly soak in the hot tub.

Aging happily

Others, however, credit Gordy’s upbeat, positive attitude toward life. “I’ve never heard Grandpa say a mean word about anybody or be afraid of anything,” says his grandson Brad.

“He was in his 90s when he first saw a jet ski and insisted on going for a ride. And once when I went over there I found him standing in the river in his waders, repairing their river wall. I said, ‘Grandpa, you can’t do that! Someone might come along with a motor boat and the waves will knock you over.’ He answered, ‘Well, I’m doing it, aren’t I?’”

None of the usual aging problems seem to get Gordy down.

There’s an exercise for everything. A few years ago I happened to mention to him that my foot was hurting from planters fasciitis. “Oh, I’ve got just the thing for that,” he said. “I’ll bring it right over.” That night I found the stick he recommended for rolling the sole of my foot over. I did it a few times and it worked!

Gordy, my hero

Gordy and Doris celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary and are looking forward to his 105th birthday in November.

Perhaps we will even ring the church bells that he had donated to the “old church” 55 years ago, then paid to have them moved to the new church five years ago. Gordy no longer appears on the golf course, but he still makes it to Sunday Mass.

I want to be like Gordy when I grow old. Gordy is my hero.

“Grandmom” likes hearing from other senior citizens who enjoy aging at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it