80 is no place for the Faint of Heart

By Linda Elissalde
I entered my eightieth decade February 14, 2021. Is there anyone I know unaware that the 14th is my birthday? Traveling buddy Yondle Davis used to say that I greeted fellow travelers with,” Hello, my name is Linda Schmucker. My birthday is February 14th.” The first sentence – true; the second – partially. Nevertheless, I have always enjoyed my birth date. Marcel who turned 80 on December 12, 2020, and I planned to throw a big soiree. We were going to copy George Strong who had treated his friends on his eightieth. However, Mr. Covid-19 planned otherwise. This poses no problem for either of us. We will celebrate in style when Dr. Fauci lets us know that all is safe. I reveled in a fantastic birthday starting with a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday to You” from church members, cards, calls, gifts sent, gifts left on doorstep and a homemade chocolate cake created by Elaine Rollfing.

A small group of friends were to gather the evening of February 14th on Mack and Dr. Melanie Wallace’s front drive for one of our masked, social distancing and clean hands party. Weather decided it would be better to wait. February 15th broke with no electricity and closed up water pipes. We all agreed to wait a bit longer. (I do love spreading out a birthday as long as possible.)

“Be prepared” is the Boy Scout motto. Even if you are not totally prepared, it is still great to have a former Boy Scout around. Who was prepared for below freezing weather along the Texas Gulf Coast? We have a small generator, but no electric heater. Marcel had checked our propane heaters on Sunday. They did not work. When Monday blasted in, he had to take one apart, and put it back together. It worked! He repaired a second one later. Then he warmed up his propane cooker.

We enjoyed hot dogs with chili, homemade soup, and delicious pork chops. He made morning coffee in a Louisiana drip pot. It tasted better than our usual electric coffee maker brew. I have loved drip coffee from the moment he brought in that first cup as I hovered under the covers. We have decided that we will serve drip coffee on special occasions.

After several false starts our electricity came back on at 12:00 AM Friday morning. Eureka! Now, what about water? One pipe had broken in a bad spot. Mary Ellen Smith came through with a list of fine folk who could help. We were able to reach Mike Dunn. He is a remarkable plumber and generous to all he assists.

Great friends who kept checking on us, electricity turned back on, clean water and a warm house! It doesn’t get much better than this. I am thrilled to be 80. Although, 80 is no place for faint of heart, AND it helps to have a former Boy Scout in the house.


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3 Responses to “80 is no place for the Faint of Heart”


    Happy Birthday !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Wallace Shook says:

    Congratulations, amazing friend!! I am the only one among millions who did not know your birthday was Feb. 14!! Keep chuggin’ up the hill — there are a few perks along the way the next 15 or so. I know: a built-in-excuse for forgetting names, where you left your iPhone, etc.

    Thank you for coming to Jane’s service. It was a beautiful service for a beautiful gal. I regret not having more time to spend with you but will try to get down your way. And, of course, if you are ever up this way, please detour and stop by.

    I kissed Jane good-night at 8:30 Thursday nite, the 12th. When she did not come down for breakfast I went up about 7:30 to find she had slipped away during her sleep. As much as I hurt, God took her at the right time. She would have been miserable in all that cold, nor a long hospital stay, nor nursing home. I have 73 years of love and memories to keep me for the rest of my days.

    Much love and appreciation for two very special friends.


  3. Brenda Beust Smith says:

    I should have known. If anyone could make me laugh at what we’ve just all been through . . . it’s Linda! (Give Marcel a hug for me!)

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