A new year has begun, and I am really hopeful for 2022. 2020 absolutely sucked from March onwards. And 2021 ,as we figure out how to live with Covid, and put our lives back together again, has been kind of an up and down process, with Covid spikes, cancelled plans, businesses still precarious, and the discovery that the vaccines usually keep people from dying, but they don’t keep people from getting sick. I think most people have been incredible good sports about rolling with it, and making the best of a difficult situation, which isn’t over yet. We want it to be, and I believe we’ll get there, but we’re still wrestling with Covid. I am REALLY hoping that 2022 will see the last of it as a major threat. Hopefully, it will either burn itself out as some viruses do (like the Spanish Flu), or it will shrink from dragon size, to something more human scale, like an ordinary flu. I am betting heavily on 2022 being a good year, even a very good year. We deserve a break after a very tough two year battle.
And as we move forward, I want to pay tribute to a remarkable woman, a legend, an icon, and from all I hear from others, she was an extraordinary, wonderful human being. Betty White, the actress, who died last Friday, and would have turned 100 in two weeks. I only a few days ago mentioned her and how much I admire her. She worked right up until the end of her life, when others retire and disappear years earlier. She stayed front and center, and kept working, and was successful until the end. And I have always heard that she was a lovely person. She truly became an icon and a legend, as a human being, and she was a very fine actress and wonderful comedian. I loved her in the movie “The Proposal”, and other parts I saw her play on TV. (The Golden Girls was one of her best roles). She even hosted Saturday Night Live and was the oldest person ever to do so. (And she didn’t look old. She was amazingly pretty even at her age.) She had a delicious sense of timing and a wicked wink. And acting is no easy business, even less so as actors get older. She just stayed in there, right up until the end. I admire Honesty, kindness, integrity and hard work, and she won on all counts. She made me laugh hard in all her comedic roles. And there is nothing so fun and therapeutic as a good laugh!!
I wrote my first book at 19, and Agatha Christie was an icon and legend then, and she also kept writing wonderful books until the end of her career. I admired her greatly as I started my career. The French singer Charles Aznavour was my teen age idol, and he too, worked hard until he passed away in his high nineties a year or two ago. I saw him in concert when he was about 92, and he was as talented, amazing, and wonderful to watch and listen to as he always was. He performed for two and a half hours onstage, never took a break, and was on his feet for the entire time. You really have to admire and celebrate that kind of dedication. I truly admire hard work. I think it keeps people vital, engaged in the world, and alive. It’s also a matter of good luck to have good health. But if the body and mind allow, I enormously respect people who stay creative and hard working.
I hope to be one of those people one day, to go on writing forever, until the end. I’ve pretty much only done two things in my life: raise children and write. My children are well on their way now, so that leaves writing, and I don’t ever want to stop. I can’t imagine what I would do with myself if I stopped writing. I am a lousy cook, I don’t have a green thumb and have no interest in gardening, I haven’t played golf since boarding school (and only took lessons because the golf teacher was very handsome. I don’t think I ever learned to play the game). I love to play poker, but never learned to play bridge. I love doing needlepoint but couldn’t make a full time job of it. And my knitting is terrible, with holes all over the place. I used to draw, and went to design school, but had no great talent. I was never a good tennis player. Hiking bores me. So that leaves writing, and I hope to keep on writing forever, far into the future, as long as I can sit in a chair and pound on the keys of my trusty typewriter. I think I want to work forever, I just can’t imagine doing anything else, or ever stopping. I need to write, like I need to breathe air.
And I read recently that Betty White said she attributed her long life and good health to never eating anything green, and I’ve always said that the only thing green I like are emeralds. (I hate most green vegetables, after being forced to eat large quantities of them in my childhood. I much prefer chocolate).
It is a great gift to be able to make people laugh. Betty White made me laugh often and hard, and she did it so elegantly. She seemed like a lovely person, and I have always admired her from afar.
So I bow to Betty White for a life well lived, right to the end, which must have come swiftly, and hopefully gently, since she was giving interviews on turning 100 just last week, and on Friday she was suddenly gone, perhaps gently in her sleep.
Godspeed, Lovely Lady, for a life so well lived, and a graceful exit after her final bow. She gives us something to aspire to with her shining example. I can still imagine her winking at me now.
Have a wonderful week, and I hope this brand new year is off to a fabulous start!!!