This past May we went on a trail hike with a group of kids from our church. Yes, there were a couple of other adults along, too ... but they were in their 30s ... so, like I say, we went on a trail hike with a group of kids from our church.
This was a guided hike and a retreat run by Wilderness Trail, so we had some group devotional activities as well as some individual quiet time.
Before you start thinking 'How namby-pamby saccharine sweet,' let me assure you that part of the group devotional activities included sharing pack loads so one girl with blistered feet could continue the hike and another part involved relinquishing one's pack to another in the group to facilitate scrambling up rocky sections. And I don't know about anyone else, but my individual quiet time was a lot of "Pant, pant, pant 'step by step You'll' pant, groan 'lead me' pant, pant, pant 'and I will follow You' groan, pant 'all of my days.'
Which may not have been the image Rich Mullins had when he wrote the song, but the rhythm and the rhyme work quite well when one is toting 30+ pounds and ascending at a rate of ... I forget. But we were going uphill. A lot.
There were also the typical group togetherness times. One of the first occurred the night before we started the hike.
We had gathered in WT's lodge -- our group of seven, a family of three, and two singles -- to meet each other and divvy up the cooking gear and food. Then our group leader had us circle up and she asked us to share a nickname someone had given us and then to share what we were most concerned about as to the hike.
Interesting. Not a question we're often asked. About nicknames, that is.
Anyway, Lee sometimes calls me 'Luigi' because my middle name is 'Louise.' I think he calls me that more than he calls me 'Anne.' So I told the group that.
And then I said that sometimes when I'm differentiating myself from my grandchildren's other grandmothers, I refer to myself as 'Granny Annie,' just to be silly.
But in the back of my mind there's been another thought. I've thought that if I ever write an advice column -- for kids or for adults -- that Granny Annie could be a fun pen name. Kind of like Mrs. Doubtfire but with a bit more brass.
'Dear Granny Annie, My parents keep treating me like a little kid even though I just turned twelve. They won't let me date or anything. What should I do?
Mature For My Age
Dear Mature, They won't let you date??!! How provincial, old-fashioned, and downright repressive can they be?! I suggest you not wait a minute longer. Just elope and show your parents that you are sufficiently mature to work 40 hours a week -- no, wait ... I forgot ... you haven't graduated from college or even high school so you'll have to work two jobs at minimum wage to earn enough money to pay rent on an apartment. And then if you want lights on at night you'll have to pay the electric bill. And I'm sure you'll want to eat ... but maybe one of your jobs will be at a restaurant.
That isn't what you had in mind? Then what did you have in mind? Dating is not a game one plays hoping to win a prize. Until you are ready to build a life apart from your parents and to take responsibility for someone else's life in addition to your own, you're not ready to date.
A little girl once asked me if it was 'fun being a grown up lady.' I think I was all of 30-something at the time. "Of course it's fun," I told her. "But first I had to learn how to have fun being six, and then seven, and then eight..." She thought about that, and I watched as a big grin spread across her face.
Can you have fun being twelve without wanting to be eighteen or twenty-three? When you can, then you'll really be mature for your age. Write back if you're not sure what I mean. But I'll bet if you think about it, you'll figure it out.
Love, Granny Annie
On the other hand, maybe it sounds a bit dorky. Or even, heaven forbid, a little too senile.
So I'll leave it up to my admiring public. Yet another poll so you can weigh in on this most important of matters.