Thousand Years – No, One Hundred Will Do

Immediately upon seeing ‘1000 words’ on the screen in front of me, the lyrics of the song started playing in my head. It was ‘A Thousand Years’ by Christina Perri. The assignment was lost now to the song; it was all my mind was occupied with and subsequently it was playing on a continuous loop. It amazed me how one phrase had led to the other with one commonality. I looked down to the keyboard with an optimism that words would override the song. My gaze caught a glimpse of a wisdom highlight laying across several keys. Well okay, it was a single light grey hair and obviously mine. I thought how ironic it was to see the grey hair, reminding me of aging whilst that song was playing in my head.

No chance of living that long in this lifetime. However wonderment stirred at the possibility of living to one hundred years of age. A nice goal to aim for I reckon. Then came the realisation that I have already been alive for more than half of that period. I have so many things I wish to do in my lifetime, so I certainly hope I will live to a very ripe old age to achieve them. Thoughts then wandered to my grandparents and how long they had lived; early eighties to early nineties three of them lived to. Will I reach that also or surpass it? I most definitely hope so!

Was their simplistic yet more laborious life the key to their long living years? Or was it a result of eating natural foods that were home-grown or only sourced locally? Most likely it was a combination of all these factors. A life that was slower in comparison to the hectic pace of modern society. These days must have been beneficial to their overall health.

Stress would have been in smaller or shorter bursts rather than a predominant everyday aspect of their lives. This would have made for more pleasant days and far less health implications. Then being more active and physical with the housework, cultivating the food in their own fruit and vegetable garden, chopping wood for the fireplaces, baking on a daily basis and even making their own butter must have been so satisfying despite the time it would have taken. Their days of so many more manual tasks, both at home and at work coupled with nutritious foods, extended family and strong communities to support them in any manner, has real appeal. It has often been said I was born in the wrong generation.

years of chopping wood
Chopping Wood for the Fireplace

I would very much love to have known what a typical day in my grandparent’s life, at my age, would have entailed. There are snippets in my memory bank about time spent with them. Yet nothing that covers a chronological order of a full day from morn to bedtime.

I remember one grandmother having a milk churn on her kitchen table and turning the milk into butter. Eager to help with the butter pats when she offered me a go, I didn’t hesitate; I was so excited! I also remember the heat of her kitchen, with the wood fire going, even in the height of a dry, dusty, hot summer. The food that had been cooked in that stove though was nothing but totally delicious. Her roasted meat and vegetables were so mouth-watering!

years old
Milk Churns

Whilst my recollections of her laundry are less vivid, there are a few that standout. They are the cold concrete washtubs with a hand-turned wringer to the side of them and a woven cane basket with wooden dolly pegs. Sewing, knitting and mending took up a lot of her time also, making the items of clothing her and grandfather needed that she could not afford to buy.

Meanwhile, my memories of my grandfathers days was him out working in the paddocks, tending to stock, sowing or harvesting crops, repairing fences or taking care of his horses. I have no recollection of my grandfather using a tractor at all. He seemed to do so much work using horses. He was a very tall man, so him sitting atop a tall horse was a mighty fine sight. In my youth, I thought he looked like a giant. I remember him driving an old steel-grey coloured ute; nothing fancy, only practical.

bygone years
Draught Horses Plowing Paddock

Lemon tarts incites memories of my other grandmother. She could make anything it seemed without a recipe in front of her. Lemon butter, the tarts and cakes are the foods I recall she effortlessly produced. The most I remember of her baking was at one of the homes I lived in with my parents as a youngster. She was visiting and may have even stayed with us for a few days. We had a gas stove at that house and wow, did she produce some really beautifully baked goods. This nanna was not one I could say did a days hard work in her life, that I can recall at all from the memories I have of her. She sure could cook though!

years of baking
Lemon Tarts

Oh the skills, talent and resilience my grandparents had! So much of what they were able to do has been lost between them and myself. I feel this is such a real shame. Many of the skills I could use today. How did the passing of knowledge and skills breakdown from generation to generation? In my case it was mostly due to the lack of contact and time with them. I know as a young child I missed that very much. Now as an older adult, I miss it, and them, so very much more. It is so very apparent how much I lost through not being able to spend more of my life with them.

For the sake of convenience these days, so much can be purchased, both in goods and services. How little satisfaction though do we personally get from that? I find that the more I can do myself, the more joy I feel, the more capable I am and the more satisfied I am with the outcome. It is a far cry from what my grandparents did and were able to do, yet I try.

My hope is that in the years to come, my knowledge and skills will have flowed on down to my grandchildren, so they too can be quite capable adults. I will teach them all that I am able, both in the practical and about life; it is what I already do and plan to continue. I will do my darnedest to ensure that there is not such a gap and loss between myself and my grandchildren. Not anything remotely similar to what there was between my grandparents and I. It is also my hope that my grandchildren will have fond memories of time spent with me. In their adulthood, I do hope they can recall many fond ones over the course of their lifetime. Just as I have of mine despite the memories being somewhat scant.

I wrote about my great-grandmothers a while ago. You can read about my memories of ‘My dear old Gran’s’ here

Listen to Christina Perri’s song ‘A Thousand Years’ here

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