The Secret to a Long Life
When I told my daughter Sarah I wouldn't be able to attend the basketball game, or hold the baby while she watched the Haines Lady Glacier Bears beat the Lady Wrangell Wolves again --the baby's tiny ears are not ready for the noise of the gym--because her father and I were going to John Schnabel's birthday party, Sarah said, "he must be 90." She's right. John turned 90 Feb. 11 and the logger, miner, and ace bridge player hosted his own birthday bash last night at the Elks. For the first dance John waltzed with Erma, who, as Sarah might say, "must have been married to him for about sixty years."
After pizza and cake, John asked retired bush pilot Layton Bennett to pose for a photo with him, since they were the only two nonagenarian men in the room. (Is that a word? Tod and Margaret used it in the song they sang about John working at his gold mine-- something he stills does, by the way.) Anyway, Layton's wife Lou smiled from her seat at one of the long paper covered tables.
Lot's of people asked John what the secret to his comfortable longevity is, and he said "I have no idea" or, when pressed, "keep active." The only thing John appears to have any trouble with is hearing, so he may just not have wanted to have a one-sided conversation. (He hasn't been able to hear well for years, all that loud sawmilling and mining machinery is harder than a gym full of cheering fans on the tender ear innards.) I couldn't help notice that John and Layton, the oldest men in the room, had also been married the longest.
Maybe because it is Valentine's Day, and maybe because so many of my friends were there dancing with spouses (and surely it is because I love mine) but I just know that one secret to a long, happy life is having someone you love to share it with, for a little while, or, if you are lucky, for a long time.