This will appear in the Farmerville Gazette, Farmerville, Louisiana, the week of March 9th 2015.

We are all pre-programmed to live according to a biological life cycle that all things living prescribe to. Birth, life and then death is quite simple to understand. Birth happens to everything living, both animal and plant. Whether it be the child leaving a mother and taking its’ first breath or a plant lifting its’ tiny leaf from the cold earth, birth happens. The final stage of death is the same; a final breath and the life is no longer. What is so different with all living things is the middle part of the life cycle, life or in other words the act of living.
There have been a couple of platitudes that address those individuals that dare to not just live their lives but instead experience life to the fullest. Sayings such as “You only live once but if you live right once is enough”, “After forty there is no such thing as chronological age, it is just a state of mind” and of course “It is quality of life that means more than quantity of life”. Every once in a while we come across that rare individual that embraces all of these platitudes. One of these people is among us in our Farmerville community.
When my mother went to Green Clinic in Ruston to give birth to yours truly, our neighbor came to visit us in the clinic. She was also pregnant and several people thought she was going into the clinic to give birth to her son that would eventually become not only my best friend but introduce me to my wife who was his sister in law. Thus one of the first people I laid eyes on was my neighbor from across the street. The world would have to wait another month before she gave birth and I was introduced to my future good buddy.
The path to Farmerville took a lot of twists and turns for my neighbor who started her own introduction to life in Georgia. She became a nurse of high intellect. She had received her nursing degree and was entering a noble life of service to mankind as she followed in the steps of Florence Nightingale. Then her life, as did millions of others around the world, changed one fateful morning on December 7th, 1941. While America went to church and then on to the movies and a small lazy pacific island slowly woke up, America erupted into war as Japanese aircraft attacked the anchored fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. My neighbor had a skill that was needed and she soon became a United States Navy Nurse.
Usually life is a combination of bitter and sweet and when mixed together like eating bitter sweet chocolate with sweet raisins it becomes a palatable mix that can be consumed with pleasure. This is what happened to my neighbor. While stationed in Florida during the dark days of World War II she met a young Marine lieutenant that would eventually become the love of her life, her soul mate, her husband. And when war ended they would return to Farmerville where they both carved out their niche in our community.
She took a nursing job in public health and dispensed thousands of syringes of medicine and inoculations to fight the scourges of childhood diseases of the 50s and 60s. Her personal life was rich as she raised four children that have gone on to contribute to the growth of our community and be a part of the greatest country in the history of the world. Like her counterparts, she didn’t seek adorations with her past nor with her day to day tasks. Instead she enjoyed life for where it took her. She was a member of local clubs and hosted book clubs and bridge clubs alike. My former neighbor still hosts these events.
She has proven to be enormously independent. She and my own mother were the same age and while I lost my mother many years ago my neighbor is still here. My neighbor lost her husband almost twenty years ago and her own best friend last year. Still she lives alone while a companion is with her during the day. She is right in the middle of her weekly bridge club meetings and still enjoys her cross word puzzles. Life has slowed her down a bit but it has in no way come close to stopping her.
Like the Energizer Bunny, she never runs down and like the Timex watch she “takes a lickin and keeps on tickin”. Saturday is a special for this lady, this community and for this country. Not only is she one of the last remaining World War II Navy Nurses that can celebrate a birthday, but our friend Becky Post is celebrating her 100th birthday. Happy birthday Becky, I look forward to writing about your 105th celebration.


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