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Old? Who, me?
by Mary A. Scobey

For some years now, I've been aware that old age was out there somewhere, but definitely somewhere in the future. Not yet, I'd tell myself while in my seventies . . . but maybe when I reach that eightieth birthday. Besides, isn't age a relative thing? A mental attitude? I've known people in their forties who were old. Like Scarlett, I'd think about it tomorrow, I told myself.

But then the big eight-oh kind of sneaked up on me, and I wailed to my husband, "But I don't want to be old!" Husband Gene, who is a very sensible, practical man, replied, "Just think of the alternative." That shut me up real fast. But still, I couldn't delay it any longer. I was old and I was frightened.

Always one to make the best of a bad situation, I began to think of ways to put a positive spin on this development. Putting my bicycle in storage was traumatic – I had been riding it until recently when my nurse daughter-in-law cautioned me about broken limbs – but taking long walks in the park was equally beneficial. Husband and I met other elderly couples also concerned with keeping their hearts and lungs in good repair as we walked along, and we made friends. We hung out at the library, we went to movies and we packed picnic lunches for our drives in the country.

But wasn't something missing? What about my legacy for the grandchildren? Had my life been of any value? Had I accomplished anything? By now surely I was wiser and had learned something to pass on to my fellow man.

I never wrote a best seller. I never found a cure for cancer. I never did get to be beautiful, and I certainly don't have a clue why bad things happen to good people. But I know that I have been blessed beyond compare with a wonderful family, with good health, with travel abroad, with art appreciation and with kind editors who publish my short stories.

Our lives are a journey, and as we travel along we should certainly enjoy the view. Each day is a gift with endless possibilities, and I wouldn't go back to my youth with all of its uncertainties for anything.


      Mary Ashmore Scobey was born in Lafayette County and proudly admits to having just reached the stage of octogenarian. She graduated from Booneville (Mississippi) High School and, after moving to College Hill with her parents, she attended "Ole Miss," receiving her B.A. degree in 1948 and her Master's (in French and English) in 1950. She then began a career in teaching and has been employed in recent years as counselor for the American Intercultural Student Exchange. She is married to Eugene Scobey of Coffeeville and they have two children: Dr. Eugene Scobey who serves as Hospitalist at Baptist-East and Julianne Scobey, who is Director of Programming at WMC-TV in Memphis.

Writing short stories and poems has always been a favorite pastime of Mary's. She wrote her first poem at the age of eleven, got it published and has been "hooked" ever since. She currently has a book of her father's World War I memoirs titled French Memoirs - World War I for sale on the shelves of Square Books in Oxford and Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Memphis.

Here are more fascinating memoirs by Mary Scobey:
I Remember Guy Bush
Faulkner and Yaknapatawpha Country
Paul Rainey ~ A Legendary Figure
Apple Head Dolls
Out of My Element
Love At Last

Want to leave a comment on Mary’s story?
Please write Ye Editor at bethjacks@hotmail.com.

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