Splishing and A’Splashing

My birthday’s coming up soon. I’ll be 66. Or as I like to say, Sixty Freaking Six. I’m not complaining. Much.

At the risk of calling some awful punishment down on myself, I have to say I feel really great right now. I’m taking an early morning water aerobics class four times a week, and while I have occasional aches and pains, the time I spend in the water makes me feel like I’m thirty-something. Almost.

In the water I’m gracefully buoyant and beautiful. The second I begin ascending the steps out of the pool, I turn into an ungainly gnome. It’s magic. Dark magic. If only I could live in the pool. Unfortunately, I’m trying to finish book four in the Happy Valley series and the laptop doesn’t like to get wet.

Still, I think I’m making a fairly smooth transition into the second half of my 60’s. I’m just gonna keep on splishing and a’splashing.

Peace, people!

Give Me a Moment

Folks, I’m officially old. I started off the day with a visit to a walk-in orthopedic clinic because one of my knees is acting up. Oh, it doesn’t hurt when I walk or sit. But if I happen to turn onto my right side and curl into my favorite sleeping position, it’s as if someone has pushed a serrated knife into the tissue next to my kneecap.

So I fully expected the doctor at the clinic to say, “If it only hurts when you do that, then for goodness sake, don’t do that.”

Instead, he sent me home with a smile and a prescription for a steroid, but only after doing something to my knee that resulted in me saying a word that, if my mother were still alive, would have had her washing out my mouth with soap and water. And I’d have deserved it.

Afterwards, I limped to my car, because NOW my knee hurts when I walk.

Still, a woman has needs and I needed lunch. So I went to a little sushi place in a strip mall. There were employees sitting outside having a smoke and even though their posted opening time was eleven a.m. and it was now ten after the hour, the OPEN sign hadn’t been turned on.

I asked if they were indeed open, and one of the employees said, “Technically we are.”

Now, this struck me wrong. Maybe I’ve reached the “Get off my lawn” stage of life, or maybe I was wondering why in hell my knee felt worse after I went to the doctor than it did before, and I just wasn’t in the mood for such a lackadaisical response.

The employee started to stand and I said, “Oh, I’m technically not going to eat here.”

I pointed to the cool little Takko Korean taqueria place just a few doors down. “Technically, I’m going to eat at that place, where the doors are open and the little sign says “C’mon in!”

And let me tell you, those damned tacos were amazing.

Ironically enough, peace, people.

Dadgum Neck

I’ve been thinking about my neck recently. It’s not a topic I’ve really considered until just a few weeks ago when a woman told me my neck was making me look old. Of course, she was attempting to sell me some expensive skin care cream that would work miracles if only I’d apply it multiple times between morning and night when I would then switch to the nighttime formula that contained even more expensive ingredients. All natural. Organic, even. Even so, my neck would still be a problem.

“It’s got a bit of fat beneath the chin there. I can’t do anything about that,” she said.

Up until that moment I hadn’t noticed the fat beneath my chin. Now, it’s all I can see. Except, I can’t actually see it—not the view I need anyway. I need to see it from the side, but that’s all but impossible on my own. So from now on, I’m only looking at everyone straight on. No more profile shots.

So, if everyone would kindly queue up in a line facing me and only me, I’d really appreciate it. Save me tons of money.

Peace, people.

Get in line, kiddo.

Do You Believe in Magic?

That first touch, first kiss

First I love you

Still exist

Somewhere in the archives

Of my soul.

And surely that was magic

Just as the weight of a

Newborn baby in my arms

Is magic.

And sometimes I think

To myself, nobody else,

But you, I suppose

That it’d be a real shame

If all my magic has played out,

Gone to someone younger;

Someone who won’t realize what was afoot

Until wrinkles line their face and

Maybe then it’s too late.

But I tell myself, and you,

That is, those of you who understand,

Our days of magic are now

In the sunsets and warm embraces

Of a gentle love with whom

We’ve grown old.

Out of the Blue

Grief doesn’t always give fair warning before picking you by the scruff of the neck and shaking you until both eyes leak copious amounts of tears. No, sometimes grief slides in without even a whisper, wraps its arms around you and squeezes so gently you don’t even realize it’s to blame for your distress until you’re writhing on the floor in agony.

Today, grief was triggered by a song I’d never heard before. It was an Emmylou Harris cover of the John Prine song, Hello In There.


The damned song grabbed me by the throat and choked tears out of me. I’d already been thinking of old friends who’d died way too young, and the song added to my melancholy.

Today would’ve been the 65th birthday of my first real friend, the first bond formed on my own, without my parents’ intervention. Johnnimae Bachus, my polar opposite.

We first met in Sunday school at Calvary Baptist Church, gravitating to one another in that mysterious way children do. Johnnimae was petite and ladylike while I was a gangly weirdo. Her mother created all of Johnniemae’s wardrobe—each dress was perfect. She could twirl a full circle with her skirt floating elegantly around her, suspended in beauty above her perfect little knees. When I tried to emulate her, my sturdy shirtwaist clung to my skinny legs and I looked like a dork,

We attended the same kindergarten—she cried for her mama until she saw that I was there. I felt quite emboldened by her confidence in me. Still I tried to copy her in everything she did. She’d color a page in blues and greens, so would I. She’d express a song preference and it would become mine. One day she became fed up with my copycat mentality and ruined her picture by coloring it in bold black marks. She did me a favor that day and I developed my own style.

Johnnimae moved away in our eighth or ninth grade year, and due to some silly school girl politics, I wasn’t invited to her going away party. I lost track of her, but we reunited at a mutual friend’s wedding several years later. I was the matron of honor and she was maid of honor. She was still perfect, while I was still a dork.

Not long after, that same mutual friend called me out of the blue one sunny day to tell me Johnnimae had died. She was maybe 24 or 25 and poised to graduate from pharmacy school. She was engaged to be married. Her life was filled with joy and accomplishments and a world of possibilities. Then, on one ordinary day she went for a swim with friends and somehow ingested or inhaled an amoeba and died soon after. The shock at her loss was immense. This golden girl was no longer in this world. How could that be?

So today I cried for her. Big old tears that wouldn’t stop and left my nose red and my eyes bloodshot. I cried while listening to Emmylou Harris sing about growing old—a privilege Johnnimae never had.

Out of the blue

Peace, people.

Impending Milestone Birthday

In less than one week I will celebrate my most significant birthday since I turned 21. But with a lot less fanfare, fewer drinks, and no hangover. Yes, I am approaching 65, the golden age of social security and Medicare in the United States.

I’d prefer to have ignored how old I’m about to be, but around six months ago I began receiving at least one piece of mail a day from a Medicare supplement provider. If I’d kept them all I could have wallpapered our guest bathroom with the literature detailing the fine points of each plan. Maybe I should have as a public service—most of my friends are nearing 65, as well.

A couple of weeks ago I opened a letter to find my official Medicare card inside. My biggest hope is that I don’t have to use it for at least ten years, but it’s tucked into my wallet just in case someone needs to card me at a bar or something.

Yesterday I received a phone book-sized handbook. Not a big-city sized phone book, and not a recent one, more like an old one from my youth back when we still received new phone books once a year. Nowadays we only receive the Yellow Pages, but I digress. I digress because that’s what old people do, and even though I’m not yet 65 I need the practice. “Get off my lawn you young whippersnapper!”

I can picture the dude in the upper right hand corner saying “Whippersnapper.”

Don’t you just love how healthy and happy all the old folks look? Maybe I’ll look the same once I’m 65. Fingers crossed.

It’s thick! Like me!

I know age is more than just a number. It’s how one feels and acts, right? At the moment I feel annoyed about all the Medicare literature I keep getting. I’ll bet some young whippersnapper is having a good old time sending this stuff out.

Peace, people.

Survival of the Oldest

Sometimes I can forget that I’m in my sixties, while other times the limitations of my age rear up and smack me right in the face. Yesterday, as I chaperoned a group of 17 and 18-year-olds on a trip to an amusement park, there was no doubt that I’d passed the threshold of youth and doddered into the realm of the (nearly) elderly.

The other chaperones were all lovely young women who made me feel welcome. Their children were among the recent high school graduates on the trip, while I was there for my grandson. They all had tons of energy. My meter was running low.

I did my best to keep up with the younger women, but between the 90° heat and my almost total lack of sleep the night before the trip, I lagged a bit. I might’ve whined a couple of times. But—I prevailed! Maybe not in a glorious manner, but I’m still alive to write this morning, so that’s a win.

That’s me in the back on one of the more harrowing rides…🤪
That’s me in the front—just kidding. I think I was sitting on a bench in the shade when this was snapped.

I’m glad I was able to go on this trip, but if I’m going to be there when the next grandchild needs me I’d better start aging in reverse.

Oh, just a word about these “kids” we chaperoned. They were so well-mannered that at times I wondered who was chaperoning who. What an amazing group of young people with big dreams and bright futures. It was an honor to hang out with them.

Peace, people!

Old is Relative

My youngest granddaughter has for several years done this hilarious impression of me in which the only words uttered in her shaky approximation of an elderly woman are, “I’m a little old lady.”

She also does impressions of her dad and her Poppa (aka Studly Doright) in which one says, “Hey man, you want a beard?” And the other answers, “No man. I’ve already got a beard.”

By “beard” she means “beer” and that cracks me up. I feel very lucky and loved to be portrayed as a little old lady.

Today, I’m 63 for real. A true little old lady.

Peace, people.

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