**No, No, That's Not It....

In middle school we had to write a paper on how old we thought we'd be when we die and what method we preferred. As if middle school wasn't already all sunshine and daisies. I didn't seem to think I could possibly bear to live past the decrepit age of 43. (I'm currently eking out every measure of life my ancient bones can stand in the few months I have left.) As for the macabre subject of how, I don't remember what I deemed an acceptable demise. I probably chose to go in my sleep or something along those lines since I knew at such a rusty age a person would not be able to do a thing worth enjoying any way.

If only I had heard of Fannie. I would have decided to live much longer. At a venerable 92 years old, Miss Fannie is one of the most active ladies I have ever known. She has served in our church for much longer than I've lived and every day of the week she is there working just as hard (if not harder than) the rest of us. She is the tiniest thing, probably weighs less than she is old, is mild mannered and soft spoken, yet in my eyes she is larger than life.

A couple of months after my weight loss surgery, at a point when I'd lost about 60 pounds Miss Fannie comes in to our office bringing the mail as she does daily, just as she's leaving she stops, looks at me and says "There is something different about you..." I assume she is about to say something about my weight loss, instead she says "Did you get a hair cut?" I smile, because I actually did just get a hair cut..."yes Miss Fannie, I did." She tells me it looks nice and moves on. She makes me want to go home with her and have her bake me cookies.

Some months after that, when I'd lost about 100 pounds Miss Fannie comes in to our office, to drop off the mail and the above scene is played out again. "There is something different about you..." I say that I'm not sure what it is. She asks if I just cut my hair, I don't want to offend so I say yes and she smiles and walks out. Miss Fannie you make me smile.

After having lost 130 pounds the change is no longer a questionable one, at least in my opinion, but leave it to Miss Fannie to humble my vain heart yet again. This time it is about 7 or 8 months after my surgery and I'm walking down the hall on an errand when she passes me she turns to me and utters the familiar "There sure is something different about you I can't put my finger on it..." I'm thinking don't embarrass her by stating the oh-so-very obvious and instead reply "I colored my hair Miss Fannie." She looks at me sort of questionably as if she wants to say no, that's not it, but says "I like it, you look good." Miss Fannie, will you adopt me?

I've now lost 159 pounds. Over HALF the woman I once was is gone. (yay!) I am often told I look like a completely different person and several people have commented, more than once, that they have to do a double take and don't recognize me at first. So, perhaps Miss Fannie thinks after seven years they've gone and hired some new girl who goes and gets her hair done an awful lot because what else would explain her confusion?

Last week she walked in the office, we did the usual hello's and thank you's as she handed me the mail. This time she turned to me and said "Have you lost a little weight?" I smile. Miss Fannie, you have no clue. "I have lost just a little weight Miss Fannie." And you know what she said?

"Well, don't lose too much!"

I've shared these stories as they've happened with those who love her and know her because I think it's the sweetest thing ever. I in no way intend to be mean, it is in my opinion a kindness not to correct her. I've pondered the possibilities of why she has no clue that I now can call myself Mini Me. Perhaps it is her generation or her genteel southern raising that keeps her from coming out and saying "Girl you were huge!"

In sharing this latest exchange with one of my closest she put it all in to perspective for me. She said, "Miss Fannie has only ever seen you as Dana and what you are on the inside. The reason she can’t tell what the difference is, is because she's never seen you in terms of fat or thin."

And I think she is spot on. I fervently wish we all had eyes like that. That we would only see people for what they are on the inside. There would be no fatties, no uglies, just hello's and I like your hair cut's. But our world does not move that way and the case is often that I am now treated different. It is usually people I don't know, but it also happens with people who do know me...How do they treat me different? That is another post for another day. Suffice it to say, it isn't as heartwarming as a smile from Miss Fannie.

**I tried real hard to come up with a title that was suggestive of the pending post yet didn't in any way resemble an elementary school joke about a person's backside. Sadly anytime you hail or make reference to someone with the name Fannie the resulting images evoked are that of school yard taunts regarding one's rear end and childish snickering. Or is that just, perhaps, my immature self?

So, once again, the title is somewhat of a working title...other titles I flirted with include: Sherlock Fannie. Curious Fannie. Fannie May or May Not. It's Elementary My Dear Fannie. Granny Fannie. Oh and then there was Fists of Fannie, Kung Fu Fannie and my personal favorite Enter the Fannie. (The last three have nothing to do with this particular post however, they were movie titles awarded her the day Miss Fannie dressed in an outfit that very closely resembled a karate student. A karate student with a black belt I might add.)