I remember Lila coming into the (yarn) shop while she was on call for our local volunteer ambulance corps. She was working on a sweater for her new grandbaby and needed help. Clearly she was impressive in her uniform (complete with static-y walkie-talkie and official jacket) because I remember exactly which yarn and pattern she was using.
Three years later when I learned that she was moving in two doors down from me I knew we were getting, yet another, wonderful addition to our neighborhood. Every time I get a chance to talk to Lila I learn something new about her. I know that her children are grown and living in other states and that she is a proud grandmother and a widow. But these aren't the things that are foremost in my mind when I think of her. To me, Lila is the serious but smiling woman who always stops to say hello and share a conversation. She is the woman who lets the neighborhood kids walk her dogs and offers aid when your child skins their knee. She seems most comfortable when she is outdoors and has striking blue eyes.
She recently took up Tai Chi, and it was this which perhaps more than anything else, opened up a window on Lila's personality to me. The idea that work, hobbies, continued self-discovery and lifelong learning do not have to end on any particular birthday seem to be paramount when you talk to Lila. She is not defined by her age or her any of the things she has already done. She is all about what is still to come in her life. What an inspirational concept!