Saturday, December 10, 2011

A timely death

My mother left a message on my voicemail yesterday saying she had "such a funny story" to tell me. When I called back, it turned out that the funny story was the news that the wife of my dad's old engineering partner had died at the age of 99. Now that is a little bit funny, but only because this woman had the misfortune to look as if she were 99 years old her whole life. Her husband was a handsome fellow with glossy hair and a charming smile. But she was as ancient-looking and stooped as a fairy-tale witch as long as I have known her, which must be 50-odd years. 

Indeed, she was so crone-like that people remarked upon it with wonder. "How old is she?" they would whisper to each other. He was so robust and ruddy, and she was so crabbed and gray, she looked like his mother, not his wife.

So the funny thing is that she outlived her husband and all her contemporaries and finally died when she got to be as old as she looked.

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