Sunday, January 22, 2012

Betty Jo Bouvier Says Hello Handsome My Name Is Rose

Betty Jo Bouvier has been on a quest to cure me of my pessimistic outlook on existence.

In other words, to improve my attitude.

Or something like that.

A couple weeks ago Betty Jo sent me the story of The Last Cab Ride.

A couple days ago Betty Jo sent me the story of a college girl named Rose. So far I detect no change in my basic attitude....

Hello  Handsome My name Is Rose 

The  first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged  us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look  around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder.

I turned  around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a  smile that lit up her entire being..

She said, 'Hi handsome.  My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?'

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, 'Of course you  may!' and she gave me a giant squeeze..

'Why are you in  college at such a young, innocent age?' I asked.

She  jokingly replied, 'I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, and  have a couple of kids....'

'No seriously,' I asked. I was  curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge  at her age.

'I always dreamed of having a college education  and now I'm getting one!' she told me.

After class we walked  to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake.

We became instant friends. Every day for the next three  months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always  mesmerized listening to this 'time machine' as she shared her wisdom  and experience with me..

Over the course of the year, Rose  became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went.  She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon  her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the  end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet  I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped  up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she  dropped her three by five cards on the floor.

Frustrated and  a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said,  'I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey  is killing me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just  tell you what I know.'

As we laughed she cleared her throat  and began, ' We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old  because we stop playing.

There are only four secrets to  staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh  and find humor every day. You've got to have a dream. When you lose  your dreams, you die.

We have so many people walking around  who are dead and don't even know it!

There is a huge  difference between growing older and growing up.

If you are  nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one  productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am  eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do  anything I will turn eighty-eight.

Anybody! Can grow older.  That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by  always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets.

The  elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for  things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with  regrets..'

She concluded her speech by courageously singing  'The Rose.'

She challenged each of us to study the lyrics  and live them out in our daily lives. At the year's end Rose  finished the college degree she had begun all those months ago.

One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.

Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in  tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never  too late to be all you can possibly be.

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