It has been two months since I was diagnosed with pneumonia. I am, for the most part, recovered from my illness. I am back to singing and to walking and to doing my freelance journalism job. Every day, I grow stronger. Yesterday, I went out for a walk after I finished writing my articles for this week’s Island Dispatch. It was a beautiful, warm day. The water, as you can see above, was a beautiful shade of blue. I was happy to see the water, happy to hear the birds in the trees chirping, happy to hear the geese honking their journey north, happy to be alive.
Speaking about happiness at being alive, one of the articles that I wrote was about a lady named Angeline Scalia (pictured above). On Saturday, March 29, she had her 100th birthday! She is very happy to be alive. She is recovering from a bout of pneumonia with her usual grace and cheerful spirit. I asked her what her secret for long life was, and she told me to always be upbeat. “Don’t be a downer,” she said. “There are always people who are worse off than you.” She also said, “Don’t be a lazy bum. Keep moving.” She has done both for a century. Her birthday, she said, was a grand occasion for her. Twenty people surprised her with a party. She was given flowers and plants and balloons and the love of her family and friends. She even gave pieces of cake to the staff at the nursing home that she is staying at while she recuperates.
Angeline also told me about some of the stories that she shared with her family and friends at her party. She talked about some of the trips and she and her late husband Leonard took after he retired. One of their trips took them to the town outside of Rome, where Angeline’s parents came from. Angeline related that she saw the house that her parents lived in. One of her cousins, named Josephina, still lives in that house, and Angeline had the chance to meet her. Angeline said that Josephina came to visit Angeline and Leonard in Western New York and that she was “surprised by everything.”
As Auntie Mame (in the play of the same name by Patrick Dennis) would say, “Life is a banquet, and most poor fools are starving to death.”
For sure, Angeline is not starving at life’s banquet.