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Meet Maggie Smith, one of the Newest Residents at Carillon Assisted Living of Newton

Although still adjusting to life at Carillon Assisted Living four months after moving to our Newton facility, Maggie Smith is looking forward to celebrating her first Christmas with us. It’s a nice time of year, she says, because of the good memories she has of past holidays.

One of her favorites took place several years ago, when her miniature Chihuahuas—named Bear and Lady—knocked all their ornaments off the bottom of their Christmas tree. After all, they looked like toys.

That wasn’t the only disaster that year. One day she and her husband, Roy, returned from a brief shopping trip to a messy surprise. “We got home and there was the whole phone book, ripped in pieces all over the floor and those little dogs looked at us like: ‘Who? Me?’” she says with a laugh.

“I’m looking forward to this year’s Christmas,” Maggie adds. “My younger sister lives in Hickory, about 15 minutes away, and she’s bringing decorations to me. She tells me, ‘I love spending your money.’”

If it sounds like the Smith family has a sense of humor, that’s because it’s been passed down through the years. For example, her parents got married on Valentine’s Day. On their first anniversary, her father gave her mother a red rose. Although adding to the number each year, at two dozen he told her, “Happy anniversary, but you’re not going to get any more roses.”

The real character was her grandmother, who she calls a “hoot.” When youngsters would ask how old she was, she would reply with a twinkle in her eye: “Almost 100.” One night, while Maggie’s parents were still dating, her father asked why there were so many pots and pans sitting in the back yard. Replied Maggie’s grandmother: “They’re burned and if I can’t clean ‘em up, I throw ‘em out there.”

“She was a sort of rascal and an unconventional lady,” Smith recalls. “Some of the things she did were funny. She and her friends would drive to downtown Fayetteville. One night when they got to where they were going, one lady said, ‘Do you know you’ve got corn growing in the back seat of your car?’ She said, ‘Yes, that’s where my next crop comes from.’”

Once, on a visit to Maggie’s cousin’s house, her grandmother got ready to remove some tomato aspic from its mold. When she turned it over under the hot water, the creation plopped into the sink. Cautioning Maggie not to tell anyone what happened, her grandmother scraped off the coffee grounds that stuck to it and put it on a plate—with no one the wiser.

“I came from a family of characters,” Smith says. “There were plenty of stories that my sister and my son told that I don’t remember. But they were hilarious. The more they said, the funnier they got. It makes me happy being with good people.”

While she loves to laugh, Maggie has a serious side, too. She recalls the honesty, strong work ethic, and belief that your word is your bond that her father taught her. She saw the latter quality demonstrated by her first husband and his father. After a land owner objected to them trying to launch their boat on his property, her father-in-law asked what he wanted for the lot.

“He said he would give the owner $250 and they shook hands and he didn’t even get the deed until the next week,” she says. “People’s word was good. That’s how people did business then.”

In addition to honest living, Smith says faith in Christ is important to her, and relationships with family. She treasures hers, joking that texts of photos and messages from her grandchildren have turned her cell phone into “Grandma’s Brag Book.”

Her other source of happiness comes from living at Carillon, which she says is comfortable, with numerous activities and a great staff, who make her feel safe.

“People here give me a lot of happiness, especially Dreama,” she says about Activities Director Dreama Setzer. “She’s so good at what she does and really cares.”

Posted in Carillon Caregivers, Resident and Community Life, Resident Stories, Successful Aging Tagged , , , , , on December 19, 2016

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