Least you think I’m deluded at 76 because I still think that I’m in my late 50s, let me hasten to tell you that I refuse to look in the mirror. There’s no point in underscoring the wrinkles that I catch reflected back to me in store windows.
I don’t obsess about the canyon craters inherited from my mother and my mother’s mother. Wrinkles run in that side of the family. Also, I try to curb my jealously of my sister Christine who, favoring my father’s Welsh line, has not one faintly etched line across her ever-youthful face.
Instead of focusing on my falling face, I’ve been rejoicing in my good health. Despite the ads for walk-in tubs and Silver Senior dating sites that pop up on my In-Box, I’ve been convinced that I am holding age at-bay…
until this past week of babysitting my grandson Jackson who at 16 month is into everything. I can’t keep up. Jackson is either drinking water out of the dog’s bowl, eating a past-prime peach that he fished out of the garbage, or attempting to pull the fish tank off its stand.
What a shock to learn that I’ve been deluded! I AM 76!
Taking Jackson for a walk in his stroller today, a neighbor called out, “Hi, Jackson. Are you taking a walk with your Granny today?” GRANNY! She was talking about me!!
Adding insult to injury, Jackson’s mother Laura and I stopped at Goodwill this afternoon to drop off some donations. Driving up the drop-off, Laura saw a donated tricycle and urged me to jump out and grab the bike that had been dropped by the car in front of us.
Of course, I declined. When Laura questioned my reticence, I replied that picking up goods at the drop-off was stealing. And she said, “‘At your age you can fake it. Just act confused and ask the attendant why there is no price on the tricycle.”
Of course, she was just pulling my chain. I think
Really! Yes, maybe once
a month a week I get confused, but not on a weekly daily basis.
As a sort of postscript, I’m remembering a poem that I wrote recently. Enjoy.
“Reading Between the Lines”
The smell of manure, funnel cakes and deep-fried Snickers
mingle and hang hefty in the stifling air.
My hand-held, battery-powered fan
does little to cool me.
I’m at the Colorado State Fair,
but had you asked,
I would have sworn that
I was dying by degrees in Death Valley.
I feel faint… flushed.
My adult children suggest that I get out of the sun.
Passing a palm reader’s booth, they urge me,
“Sit down. Have your palm read.” And so I sit.
Wanda, the Reader, is dressed for the part.
She wears a pleated, black turban on which
front and center, she has pinned a large amber stone.
A third eye, perhaps?
She’s old… wrinkled. Twenty dollars’ worth of eye makeup
does not make her any younger.
Rings and bracelets weigh her wrists down.
Without a word of greeting, Wanda waves me to a chair.
She takes my right hand and turns it palm up.
She squints. For the first time,
I too look intently at my palm, and
I’m surprised that it is so faintly lined.
Perhaps the palmist will think that I have money and
I’m a lady of leisure.
I’m guessing that she will interpret my lines accordingly.
I wait for her to prove my conjecture correct.
Glancing at the wall chart, I note the hand’s major lines.
My heart line is well-defined, but my head and lifeline are faint.
My fate line is nearly indistinct.
A good number of lines are entirely missing.
Wanda’s pursed lips and furrowed brow have me holding my breath.
Her performance is good… dramatic… theatric.
Finally, Wanda sighs.
Turning my palm over, she tenderly pats the top of my hand.
Lifting her eyes, Wanda studies me.
A few moments later, she smiles at my lined face.
Now, she has something to work with!