Hazelton, N.D. - Once the sun is up, Irene Brindle is on the move.
“This is what I do every day,” Brindle says as she makes her way across the yard of a 320-acre farmstead south of Hazelton where she and her late husband put down roots in 1948.
“It was just a hill,” she remembers. “And we built the house here, had a well dug and everything. We farmed the land until we couldn’t, and now it’s rented.”
Now Brindle stays as busy as a bee in a garden—a big garden—that would make even the greenest of thumbs green with envy.
Little scenes play out as she shows off her bounty. “Oh my goodness!” she says, plucking a pepper. She pulls two massive carrots from the ground and spots a volunteer potato. “These are beautiful,” she says as she admires a handful of freshly-harvested onions.
And at eighty-nine years old, she’s no shrinking violet. “I don’t dye my hair!” Brindle laughs as she pulls off her pink sun hat. “No one believes that I’m eighty-nine. And it’s because I keep moving. Some of these people, they just sit—well I just can’t.”
The onions become salsa. The blooming flowers brighten up the Catholic Church in Hazelton. And most of the produce ends up with her neighbors.
“What’s not to like except the work?” Brindle says. Like I said, not your garden-variety retiree.
In fact, Irene Brindle has energy to spare: and she spends it at Midway Lanes in Mandan two days a week.
“When I’m at the bowling alley, Jim can never believe, ‘eighty-nine?’ But you just have to keep going—and I do,” she says. “There’s lots of things to do.”
But whether it’s the bowling lane or her peaceful garden path, one thing is certain: Irene Brindle is exactly where she belongs.
“I hope the kids have to carry me out,” she says with a smile. “Nope, this is where I stay. I love it.”