“One Man’s Century”

Community Foundation Higher Ground 0 Comments

“Age is a question of mind over matter, if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Satchel Paige This past Sunday, I was blessed to be among 300 well-wishers that attended and enjoyed the 100th birthday celebration of my uncle, Thomas William Hinds. The number of people was quite surprising to me. I could count 50 or so family members, but most of the people were his friends, and you just don’t expect a centurion to have so many friends still around. In fact, one of these friends, Josh Jackson had already crossed over the century mark and came to the front to welcome him into the prestigious club. Mr. Jackson offered the Satchel Paige quote and added a story of how fascinated his young great grandson was with his age of 102. The young eight year old asked, “Did you start at one year old like the rest of us ?”.

It was a lovely and inspiring day of memories, accolades, and laughter lavished on my uncle and my aunt Grace Whatley Hinds, as they sat at the head table, occasionally taking a quick nap or two in the midst of it all. Both of them had been Atlanta public school educators who gave lifetimes of service towards the training and mentoring of young people. They have been real neighbors and caring friends. It was that legacy of love and service that has kept alive relationships across generations, and brought so many out. Yet, there is another story of an unsung hero that made it all possible.

Their daughter, Sylvia Hinds Reid, has cared for her parents with impeccable compassion and service for the past 15 years. She laughs, saying that each is in the “prime of their senility”, while keeping them healthy, engaged, comfortable, and in their own home. Her mother did the same for our grandmother and two great aunts. It’s a daunting task and, these days, an uncommon sacrifice, but a service of such importance that it adds years to one’s life, quality to one’s years, and a deep sense of fulfillment to both the recipient and the caregiver.

More of us are living to see 80, 90, and 100 years of age, and as we do, it is my prayer that there is a Sylvia in each of our lives to comfort, protect, and appreciate us. The best assurance of that however, is to be that caring person to others while the strength and opportunity is yours.

“Wisdom is knowing what to do next, Virtue is doing it.”