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Talk to Strangers

Talk to Strangers

My most precious moments of the week are my Sunday mornings on our back deck with the New York Times and the SF Chronicle. This Sunday was one of those mornings, when the temperature is just right, not too hot, with just the right amount of chill in the air.

I don’t know about you other NYT readers, but for me there is an order to which the columns must be read before I dive into the Opinion Section.

Waiting for my breakfast to be cooked this morning, I took a break after reading my go – to column Modern Love to peek over the fence to check out any ‘doings’ in the neighborhood. Right outside our fence is this sparkling red Mercedes sports coup, a red like I’ve never seen before, polished to an impeccable shine. It immediately congers up that famous phrase, Hello Gorgeous!

I’m not much of a car person, but I find myself yelling into the kitchen, “ Hugh come out here, you’ve got to see this sweet ride.” We both lean over the fence admiring this vision, imagining who the driver could be.

We go back to our breakfast and newspaper feast and when we are done Hugh takes off on an errand. While reading Maureen Dowd’s column, I hear the owner returning and a sound of a car door opening. I jump up to get a look at what I imagine is a silicon valley startup young buck. But there opening her trunk is a woman my age!

Trying not to startle her, I call out, “Hey, Good Morning.” She looks up to see me peering over the fence.
“ I just had to tell you how much I love your car. What sweet ride eh?”
“Yeah, it’s kinda bitter sweet,” she replies, “It was my partner’s. We only had it for about a year before he passed, so it’s mine now.”
Taken aback I respond with the usual, “I’m so sorry to hear that.” And then I find the words coming out of my mouth, “Enjoy every minute of it.”
“Yeah” she says wistfully, “I hardly ever put the top down.”
Shocked, I look at the car and think, this beauty is a convertible as well?
I look back at her thinking on a day like today, this is what this car is made for.
She offers, “Yeah, I’m afraid of age spots,” and sort of giggles.
I look right at her and say with a shrug, ”Hey, that’s what dermatologists are for.”
She nods back in a reflective kind of way.
Wishing each other a good day, I return to Maureen Dowd, while she prepares to leave, putting things in her trunk.

Suddenly I hear a horn honk and she’s pulling out waving, yelling back to me,…

“I TOOK THE TOP DOWN!”

I wave back, tears rolling down my face.

At this age, moments like these are precious to me. I hope that if I am the partner left standing, that there will always be someone to remind me to take the top down, turn up the music and find a way to continue to enjoy life without him.

P.S. – Talk to strangers.

For other helpful hints and Elder Wisdom check out the blog here.

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