Shirley is in her 80’s and I have known her for awhile. Today, I’ve taken Lexi to her shop to get a haircut.
‘How are you and the new boyfriend?’ I ask.
I’m remembering when I last saw her, maybe 6 months ago, when she was rhapsodizing over a man she had met on the golf course.
‘Oh, he’s gone!” she says, with a hint of distain.
“I have a new one.’
The former man, she says, was cheap. He made her pay for her own meals and everything else.
“I wasn’t brought up to be that way with a man.”
I’m trying not to gasp but the air gets stuck in my throat. I choke a bit.
Shirley is widowed and has had a number of boyfriends since I have known her in the past year or two.
“This boyfriend,” Shirley is saying, ” has a beautiful 40 ft motor home, lives in alaska part time, and adores me.”
As she washes the suds out of Lexi’s hair, she looks at me and says, “I’m retiring! I’m closing the shop and traveling with this lovely man and my little dog!”
I’m impressed. I haven’t had a boyfriend for years and Shirley, in her 80’s, with all the massive single female competition, always has one.
My Mother also had boyfriends into her very late 80’s. Actually, right up until the time she died.
There was Hoover, a handsome guy my age, a Basque man who lived on a ranch. In her 80’s, he adored my mother and thought her the most beautiful and sexy woman in existence.
My brother Art, unaware of The Romance, caught the two necking heavily on Mom’s couch one day when he popped over for a visit. He told us siblings about it later. He said he was so stunned that he just didn’t know what to say or what to do.
We 4 sisters all immediately toasted our Mother with champagne, because of that romance.
Hoover had his quirks. He believed that when you’re dead you moulder quietly underground until the Judgement Day. He planned to stay in his coffin until he heard the trumpets calling the Faithful. Then, he told us, he and all the other Believers would be raised bodily up to heaven in a cloud of heavenly dust.
Without my Mother, I would guess.
Mom and I were a bit worried about Hoover’s plan. We decided that if one or both of us were dead when Hoover died, we’d find his grave, dig around a bit, rap loudly on the metal coffin and shout, “Yoooo Hoo, it’s the Resurrection!” We would trick him into coming out of his coffin to join our particular party in the Great Beyond.
We had a lotta’ fun with that one.
Then there was David, a man in his late 80’s.
Mother had gone to school with David and known him since childhood.
The two were passionately involved for awhile but eventually our mother seemed to lose interest in the man.
“He’s stingy with his penis,” she confided to us.
“Mom, he’s very old. Maybe he can’t get it up,” we suggested.
“It comes up,” she said. “He’s just stingy with it.”
The next boyfriend was Bruce.
One day we siblings watched this fellow retch up and spit a big wad of nasty phlegm into a glass case full of silver tableware, during a wedding at the very posh Hotel Del.
“He’s not one of your better choices,” we advised our mother.
And my friend Helen? In her 80’s she had a young boyfriend named Reuben. He was at least 20 years younger. They traveled, made love and laughed and felt like they were dancing Helen wildly into the blazing sunset of her life.
But dang. Rueben died!
Helen was startled and in despair. She had planned to die first.
Helen told me later that she went to his funeral at the local cemetery. She sat in a chair in the first row of metal chairs. Her chair’s spindly legs sunk deep into the grass and left her sitting at an angle.
She said the preacher patted Rueben’s casket as it lingered over the open grave. Then he launched into a too long talk about the dear deceased’s life and accomplishments. She was puzzled.
Finally, she leaned close to the woman beside her and whispered, ‘Who is this Fred they keep talking about?’
“He’s the man we’re burying,” the woman said.
“I’d gone to the wrong funeral,” Helen told me with amazement. “I never did find Ruben’s service. Rueben would have thought my going to a strange man’s service was hysterical.”
And, again...I can’t even get one boyfriend!
Maybe in The Magical Old Lady 80’s my luck will change?
If ladies in their 80’s can have Sex and Romance, why not us, my friends?
Maybe we’re just too young for love right now? A little too green? Not quite ripe?
Stay cheerful. Stay patient.
The Ripeness of our old age may bring us the Big Fruit Basket In The Sky.
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