Mrs. Hsiao, Who’s So Very Young

How do you keep in shape???  Translated…

Seven years ago, I’d gotten involved in a community choir, even though I loved to sing, but I’d always worried that I’d be out of tune, the classmate next to me saw my worries, pointed toward the empty seat in a row up, said, “That, would be where Mrs. Hsiao sat, she’s already eighty-five years old, since the start of this choir, she’d been a member, she’d sung for nine straight years, happily too!  It’s just that recently, she’d had a fall, broken her femur, is in a cast, she must wait until she’d healed, then, she’ll return to class once more!”

A few weeks later, I finally got to see, the slimly built, with a thick Hunan accent, Mrs. Hsiao, and I’d seen how she managed, to outdo us all.  The lyrics are so finely printed, and, in order for her to read them well, Mrs. Hsiao had written out the words, the parts, onto a legal size paper, to make her own specialty song book.  This needed a TON of patience, along with stamina, to accomplish.

Because every song, she’d copied them, with her heart, and so, she’d known the runs very well, and, after the class, we’d seen her go to the instructors often, to ask questions.  The conductor’s class was multifaceted, religious music, artistic music, operatic too, even those mixes of popular music, are all in our repertoire.  Every time before a show, we’d all get super stressed out about having to memorize the words in Chinese, Taiwanese, Hakka, English, Japanese, Italian, and Latin, only Mrs. Hsiao, filled with confidence, even those Taiwanese language songs she wasn’t adept in, she’d sung them all very well in these couple of years too.

Mrs. Hsiao is still very healthy, several times we’d gone out, she managed to catch up to us.  She’d worked out, stretched her body, and so, she could stand up straight, and for a very long period of time too, she also has great flexibility.  I, who’d often slouched over as I stood would get scolded by her a lot.  Before the class, in order to relax ourselves, we would massage one another, and, we’d especially enjoyed getting Mrs. Hsiao to massage us, she is strong, whether it be kneading, rubbing, she managed to measure to the professionals.

The average age of our choir is sixty-six, and there are several members over the age of seventy, and, all of us are seen as younger generation to Mrs. Hsiao.  The fifty-year-old, Ms. Hsu, the instructor, was still a “little girl”.  Mrs. Hsiao who’d always greeted everybody with her smiles is very popular, would bring specialty items from all over the places to share with everybody, everybody wanted to get closer to her too.

We’d record our singing sessions, so we could find it easier, to practice later on.  Mrs. Hsiao would have her old cassette recorder, then, she’d found that our MP3’s worked better, and would ask us to e-mail the files to her grandson’s mailbox, so her grandson could play it back to her again.  Two summers ago, she’d asked me to send the files to HER e-mail box, turns out, that the grandson is about to go abroad to further his education, he’d helped his grandmother set up a brand new computer, and taught her how to use it.  And now, receiving e-mails, downloading the music files, are super easy for Mrs. Hsiao.

At the start of August this year, we were invited to a “Concert from Across the Straits”, as the announcer told that Mrs. Hsiao was ninety-two years old, everybody started screaming under the stage, and she’d become the BEST female singer!  And our choir recently was invited, to perform again, Mrs. Hsiao wore light makeup, with bright colored lipsticks, with a short wig, wearing a black skirt, with glitter on, our uniform, put on her flower scarf, from a distance, she looked like a younger woman.  She’d come along on stage with everybody, rehearsing over and over again, without a word that she was tired.  There was a song, where the female members of the choir needed to twist and turn, and shake, she too, did that well, it made us all in awe.

Mrs. Hsiao often told us, that being in the choir had give the elderly life focus again, and she’d become healthier, because of the choir, she was very thankful, to all of the classmates’ cares and concerns for her.  She is the “treasure” of our group too.  With this model student as standard, everybody was up and at it, when we’d practiced, we’d sung with our hearts.  At old age, if we could have her spirit in learning, along with good health, that, would be a heaven sent luck.  I hereby, wish that Mrs. Hsiao would be healthy forever, and live until she’s at least 120!

And so, this elderly woman IS an example, for us all, at the age of ninety-two, she was still, very active, in her group, and, everybody in the group looks out for her, because she is kind toward them, and that, is, aging with G-R-A-C-E!!!

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