Boomer (my grandmother) had a lifelong friend named Millie Jones. Boomer and Millie grew up in the same small Swedish-American community in the middle of America, attending the Free Church and school together. Millie was a few years ahead of Boomer, but when they were newly married they shared meals together, joined and hosted knitting and missionary circles with other ladies, and welcomed the birth of each others children.
My mom remembers Millie as the great cookie/dessert maker. An afternoon spent with the Jones' family also ended with a sweet treat. From what I've heard, entire church potlucks were scheduled and planned just so Millie Jones would grace the tables with her yummy desserts.
Growing up away from the middle of America, Millie Jones was just another old Swedish person that I was suppose to remember. (in small Swedish communities, there are seas of Millies, Irvs, Johnsons, Swansons, etc) I finally got to know the infamous Millie Jones about three years ago when she joined Boomer and another friend on the great Californian adventure. (in other words, they were snowbirds at my parents' house for three weeks in the middle of the midwest winter)
We took the three ladies all over southern California, hitting all the great spots like Nordstroms, Macy's, and the Crystal Cathedral. Millie was just a few days away from turning 90, but unless she told you (which she probably would have) you would never have guessed her age. Her stamina- especially at shoe stores and shopping malls- went unmatched. Her easy laugh and humor were delightful to be around too.
Millie was a great listener and eager to help whenever she was able. I recall her listening intently to my dad tell about his work in Romania. Millie pledged to bring his stories back to the midwest and enlist others to help with the ministry. She kept her promise- a few months later my dad made a trip back to speak to a group she had gathered about supporting the ministry.
Millie was also willing to try new things. Like frappacinos and sudoku puzzles. Her excitement at new experiences was enough to inspire me to 'be like Millie' and do my best to not get stuck in ruts.
Millie faced a few health struggles over the next two years and didn't make it back to southern California with Boomer and her other friend. We kept up with her and she with us no doubt, by news through Boomer.
Millie passed away on Tuesday, February 24, 2009. She lived a long full life and taught many people many lessons along the way.