I recently received a phone call that went like this:
“Hello? Who is this?”
“This is Meredith. Who is this?”
“This is Maria. I’m looking for my great-grandson. Do you know him?”
“What is his name, Maria?”
“His name is Lee. L-E-E.”
“Gosh, I’m sorry, I don’t know anyone named Lee.”
“Do you know how I can get a hold of him?”
“Unfortunately I do not. Good luck, I hope you find him!”
“I’m just so sorry for calling you. Thank you for your help.”
“No apology needed, Maria. You can call here anytime.”
“Thank you, dear. I’ll call you soon. Goodbye.”
This sweet conversation made me realize two things: One, I am really, really good at making friends. Two, a lot of my friends are old people and I am ok with that.
My grandparents relocated to Colorado a few months back and currently reside at a pretty kick-ass retirement village just 10 short minutes from my house. Every time I visit them, I make a new friend (or get a date). On my very first visit, I sparked-up a conversation with Andy, a gentleman of approximately 187 years old who rolls an Oxygen tank behind him wherever he goes. Andy happens to be the “touchy-feely” variety of old person, one of my favorite kinds. He insists on holding my hand when we talk & always wants me to “sit next to [him] for a while.” He must also be psychic because he is out-and-about every time I visit. John worries I’m having an affair, but I am confident that he’ll be accept it when Andy leaves me his millions.
Another friend I’ve made there is Rhonda, the widower who smells like she bathes in Chanel No. 5 before loading herself onto the elevator for dinner. The first time I met her, I complimented her on her gold-sequined sweater while holding the elevator (for 15 minutes) as she walked down the hall to catch it. She displayed her full set of dentures and said, “Thank you! It is very old.” Duh, Rhonda.
One visit to see G&G, I was to meet them in the dining hall for supper. I waited among the rows of parked walkers/wheelchairs and soon spotted Andy, sitting in the corner smiling and waving at me. I started to approach him but was stopped by another man – Eugene (everyone in the place wears name tags, so it is super easy to know who I am speaking with). Eugene asked if I was moving-in and said that “a place just opened-up” right down the hall from him. I was elated that I passed for 60+ and flattered that he liked me, yet sad that this opening likely meant someone had died. I secretly hoped that someone had just gone to live with a nice family on a farm, like our childhood puppy. He didn’t seem too phased and asked if I was at least old enough to “buy you a glass of wine?” It was a sweet gesture, even if wine & beer are free with dinner. Eugene then stopped everyone entering the dining hall to introduce them to his “21-year-old girlfriend.” I tried to correct him and say “I’m 26,” but he heard something about ‘sex’ and the conversation took an entirely different turn. If Andy could have moved at more than a glacial pace, I think a brawl would have broken-out. Yeah, I’ve still got it.
Anyway, I absolutely love old folks and enjoy spending time with them immensely. In fact, this week I’ve scheduled extra time to visit my grandparents because I’m hoping to get a few people together for a game of Bridge. I also saved Maria’s phone number in my caller ID and plan on giving her a little jingle tonight to say, “hello” and see if she ever found Lee.
* Authors note: I’ve learned that it is wise to hold your breath before getting on any elevator at a retirement home as it either smells like perfume, flatulence or a terrible combination of the two. Sometimes, I think the residents are having a competition to see who still has functioning olfactory systems. OMG. Maybe they should try this place: