Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

May 4, 2014

Living long and prospering

ASHLAND — How do you think you would feel to be 90 years old and still be called someone’s kid brother? By three someones?

A 94-year-old sister likely wouldn’t be too tough on you, but what about a 98-year-old brother and a sister who just hit the 100 mark?

And that’s not counting another brother and sister who died in their late 80s.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of these four longest-lived siblings is that all of them today are living in their own homes with a minimum of assistance.

The century-old sister still knows the names and birthdays of her more than 160 grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.

The 98-year-old brother is legally blind, but regularly drives a modified golf cart — by memory and shadow vision — to a church building several blocks away.

The 94-year-old sister has the most restricted lifestyle, but that is by her choice. She says all of her friends are gone.

The 90-year-old kid brother has demonstrated his share of family spunk by learning to cook at the age of 89 and, less than a year later, by mastering the skills of bread-making.

He has become the Robin Hood of the flour bin by baking loaves of bread and leaving them on the doorsteps of less fortunate neighbors.

In fact, his children whisper to each other that their father’s white bread may be as good or better than that of any cook in the family.

He recently baked and decorated a fancy birthday cake for a young girl across the street. At that point, I called him out as a showoff.

I’m allowed to do that — all in good fun — because he is my incredible father-in-law, Ray Hobbs.

He and his older siblings are living proof that staying active mentally and physically and healthy eating can help you live longer.

What a family!

KEITH KAPPES is the publisher of The Morehead News, the Grayson Journal-Enquirer and the Olive Hill Times. He can be reached at kkappes@themoreheadnews.com

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