One of the most remarkable people I've ever met died yesterday. Myrtle Rice succumbed to cancer at the age of 102. Yes, you read that right ... 102! And up until about one week ago, she was living on her own in a senior citizen's apartment complex.
She was a really neat lady who lived most of her life on a dairy farm in Urbana MD ... which is now a planned housing development. She attributed her long life to hard work. She took care of her brothers and her parents - both of whom died in her arms. She has two surviving daughters, but outlived her only son and her husband. She was a devoted member of Calvary United Methodist Church and had a strong faith.
She didn't like doctors much, especially when they wanted to put her in the hospital. She loved the Orioles and going out to Red Lobster (she even had her 102 birthday dinner there!). Myrtle had a sense of humor and could see the absurdity in life.
Even in the end when her cancer was quite painful, she told me she was grateful to God for everything God had given her. She was just curious as to why God let her live so long. She asked God to just let her go to sleep and not wake up because she'd done everything she wanted to do.
God answered her prayer. I'm sure she heard Jesus say, "Well done good and faithful servant."
I went out to scrape the ice off my sidewalk this afternoon. It was hard work to crack the ice and shovel it into my yard. I broke of large thin slabs and flung them onto my ice covered lawn. They shattered and the pieces scattered and slid all over the yard. There was something really fun and childlike about doing this. As I did it, I could sense Miss Myrtle watching this and laughing. As my back got sore, I could hear her say, "Come on, you know hard work won't kill you."
It's been a privilege ... thanks Miss Myrtle!