We got a call from Mildred to tell us she was going to take a little trip to Spain; she's always wanted to go there. Her plans are all made and she is really looking forward to exploring new territory. We asked her who she would be going with and she said she would be going alone this time. She was sure to meet some nice people along the way and afterall, she did enjoy her own company. No worries. As she predicted, she did meet "the nicest young man."
She loved to travel and it was not unusual for her to have a couple of trips lined up well in advance. She especially enjoyed looking forward to her adventures. Mildred was big on looking forward. There was the great Alaskan adventure, featuring a walk on a glacier.
These particular adventures happened about ten years ago and that would have put her at about 85 years old, had she been counting. A native New Yorker, she loved coming to Missouri. She would make her annual trip. We would go to the farmers market, shop in her favorite local stores, get our manicures and pedicures and do lunch. She loved driving through our sparsely populated countryside. She knew New York City like the back of her hand but the mysteries of Missouri really captured her imagination.
Our nieces, nephews and other family members loved her visits and everyone stopped what they were doing for one day when Mildred came to Missouri. She had a way of being able to talk to anyone, no matter what their generation.
Her adventures were not limited to traveling. She purchased a laptop and brought it to Missouri with her. She wanted to be able to email everyone and stay in touch. She also liked that she could manage her portfolio online. Plenty motivated, she attempted to master the Vista operating system with lots of tutoring from Hank. Magnifying glass in her left hand, she hunted and pecked with her right. She laughed at herself and made fun of this one area of her life where she was illiterate. She didn't like being computer illiterate one little bit. She was a professional teacher and school principal and was literally the most literate person I have ever met. She allowed that she would need to live a few more years. Since she had purchased a warranty on the laptop, she intended to get her money's worth. She would have been about 94 years old then, had she been counting.
She was a good, little eater, as they say and nearly always protested that she had been served much too large a portion. Despite her hearty protests and her delicate appetite, her food would somehow disappear. She was always up for a great dining adventure.
She enhanced the lives of "those older folks" that lived near her. We were never allowed to say that she lived in an assisted living residence, and by strict definition, she probably didn't. She took it upon herself to offer a program each Saturday afternoon of classical music that she ordered from Netflix. She gained quite a following and the older folks really appreciated the uplifting experience each week.
She had a rule that if someone wanted to talk about their aches and pains, they would have 5 minutes to do so, and then the subject would change or the company would change. She stuck to her guns on that one.
Independent didn't even begin to describe my friend, Mildred. She was independent before women ever thought such thoughts or spoke about such things. I never got the impression that she thought of herself as a pioneer in this area, but she definitely was.