My Grandmother, Beatrice Justice, was a Centenarian. She was always a trailblazer. She went to school and got her degree in the 30's and got a real kick out of the fact, as did I, when I became a Dean of that same school almost 70 years later. She owned the coolest cars, her last one was a loaded up Nissan Maxima in the early 90's. She had a cell phone, I mean when it was really cool to have a cellphone, one of those big satellite looking phones. She counted her steps, with a pedometer and probably in her head before that, way before Fitbit and all its analytics were the rage. Everyday she started her days with stretches from her head to her toes, long before Tom Brady's TB12 Pliability was the in thing. You know there is an app to time how long you chew your food so to be mindful of your eating? Yeah, she was way ahead of that too, always silent during dinner or by herself as she monitored her bites with "chew, chew, chew your food..." to the tune of one chorus of Row, Row, Row your Boat." "The Secret"? ,she was way ahead of that, she gave me her Norman Vincent Peale Collection years ago. Going to the Chiropractor, she was doing that as long as I can remember, as preventive medicine. I can go on and on, but you get the gist.
She once told my mom, "you know I love to count things". She had a thing for numbers. Her favorite, the #23. I can hear her voice as I type whats next, "You know, there really is something special to #23".... and we are off!! You couldn't stop her after that. She was going to tell it again. But you didn't care, it was special to her, and rightfully so. It went in this order: "Do you know David Justice of the Atlanta Braves? We have a David Justice in our family and they look a lot alike (God bless her, they really don't, but she had one eye since the late 1960's, so to her maybe they did). Grandpa and I were married on the 23rd of January. Uncle Ray was born a year later on the same exact day. David Justice wore the #23. Our David is Ray's son." Now, I think that story on it's own is pretty neat. But this blew Grandma's socks off when she got to add this to her story. "One of our 3 Michelle's (my wife) was born on the 23rd of January. Nathan (my son) was also born on the 23rd of January. There is something to it, don't you think? (as she shrugged her shoulders)." Of course, as if it needed any extra flair, I would always add that Nathan's middle name is Justice and the dog we saved from a kill shelter was already given the name of Justice.
I often think of my Grandma as I find meaning in the number 11. I don't think she would have asked my "why RENEW11?" We would've had some great conversations about it. Me being paddled 11 times on March 11 and the current fascination around the world with 11:11 would have gotten us going. We would have tied my rebirth to the biblical meanings of number 11 and..... we'd be off. I'd tell her about the the three master numbers 11, 22, 33 and what each one means and how 3/11/19 computes to each of three master numbers. How about the license plate I was given,"JME1446"(Jamie 3/11=14 and I was 46), was no coincidence. She would have told the story again how she was born a 4 lb runt, put aside to the end of the bed as dead by the Doctor, until her Grandma yelled "there is life in her yet!" and wrapped her in a box by the fire. She would have reminded me of her devout faith by letting me know God wasn't ready to take either of us. We would have gone on and on. I miss you Gram. We all do.
The picture of her above, I took from my Uncle Ray's Facebook page with his caption, "Mom, Bea ,Singing Star Spangled Banner at Veterans concert. 99 next month and knows all the words clearly". She was sharp and had all her faculties up until the end. She said to my mom when she was 99,"I am ready to go now but I would like to live to 100. I think you kids would get a kick out of that and would be something for you to talk about." She was one of a kind!