I’m officially an old man. I’m not angry about it but I’m not always pleased either. The era of boy and young man passed rapidly, although at the time, it seemed forever. Adulthood came rather abruptly with service in the armed forces in World War II. When released from that obligation, adulthood went on, seemingly endless. So many, many things took place, even fulfillment of some dreams.
Further education, several different careers, marriage and a large family, all with a future ahead happened, some came easily and many with varying degrees of difficulty.
I had gone from just myself to two and ultimately to a total of eight. The children grew up and had families of their own. Our children married and increased the numbers but looking back from today’s viewpoint, that only took hours, at the most, days. It went by quickly, so quickly. Almost too quickly.
As time progressed we dwindled back down to two again, with visitation rights. We had the best of several worlds, becoming a loving couple, proud parents, and doting, spoiling grandparents with retirement in sight. We had the close contact of our children, and their children, without the twenty-four hour adhesion of their lives to ours.
More free time was available. Time to travel, time to experience things that were only dreams when larger, heavier obligations were upon us. There was even time to enjoy each other. We had unobstructed spans of time to just be us, a couple, a pair. We were husband and wife, best friends and lovers. That portion of our lives seemed a magical time. We were finally able to go places and stay as long as we wished. There were places, both magical and exciting that were explored. Then time extracted some of its first tolls.
Physical frailties caught up with my wife. Our shared adventures slowed and then ceased. With her encouragement, I continued, taking “spare parts”, or grand children with me. We traveled the West and areas of Mexico, stopping wherever we pleased. Another magical time re-viewed through the eyes of a child. It didn’t matter that I had been there many times before, because watching them view something new was indescribable. Rafting through a river rapids or walking through a Mayan ruins became new all over again. For a while, time stood still again.
Now, greatgrands came upon the scene. I’d swear it was just a week or so ago except for the fact that I was in Mazatlan, Mexico last October with a greatgrand and she was a freshman in high school on fall break. I won’t say, “Now how did that happen?” because I have no doubt that she happened the usual way. My question is “When?” I suddenly went from a grandfather to a great grandfather. Of course, if you want to play with words, I think I was always a “great” grandfather from the start. I know I did my damnedest to spoil them in the best possible way.
Three years ago, my wife died suddenly leaving me alone. I was back to one, as the song goes, “One Is The Loneliest Number.” I wasn’t “lost”, just alone. I got my life in order, rearranged the house and tried to adjust to living alone. My God, I hadn’t dated in MANY years and really didn’t know what to do. I joined the Seniors Club in my city but that didn’t help any as most of the women there were OLD and I was still quite active.
Then, one day I was in Cabelas Sports store looking at boats and a silver haired lady was looking at the same boat. We talked to each other about the boat then talk shifted to boating in general. After a few minutes I mentioned that I was hungry and could I buy her lunch, too. She said yes and we introduced ourselves. She was Kay and I said my name was John. We rode the escalator up together to the dining area of the store. On the way up, we commented on the multitude of stuffed animals on display all over the store. Conversation flowed easily for some reason. I was just comfortable talking with this lady. As lunch concluded, I asked if she would like to have lunch, again tomorrow, in Wickenburg, a town about 50 miles away.
She thought for a moment, then said yes and gave me her address. I said I would pick her up about 10:30 and we would drive over there for lunch. Wow, it just happened. During lunch, she mentioned that she was a divorced mother of two who was an Arizona native. Our ages were about the same, too. We both loved the outdoors and camping. She had a small class C motor home and I had a 32′ class A Bounder motor home.
I drove to her house in my pickup the next day and we drove leisurely to Wickenburg for lunch. Again, we talked. I had lived in the state for 50+ years and she was a native, so it was not surprising that we knew a number of the same people. It just got easier and easier. Later, after lunch, she remarked that she, too, was surprised how easy we seemed to get along together. Oh, we didn’t always agree with each other, but we were familiar with the subject at hand.
We did lunches a lot after that. Lunches in Scottsdale, lunches in Apache Junction, lunches in Prescott and then I asked her if she would like lunch and dinner in Flagstaff. There was no discussion, as she knew that dinner in Flagstaff meant staying overnight in Flag. She smiled and said yes, she would like that and would pack an overnight bag. It was an interesting drive. It took forever and yet we were there in no time. As longtime residents, there was little new to see on the way there, but we talked a lot and saw little, anyhow.
We went to a restaurant that we both knew for lunch, then checked into a nice motel. And yes, I checked us in as Mr. And Mrs.. It was no secret as she stood by me when I checked in. Kay just smiled and tucked her hand in the bend of my arm and squeezed it a little. After registering, we went to the room to put our things in it. After entering and closing the door behind us, she turned and gave me a hug. We both smiled and then kissed. After standing like that for a moment, we broke apart and put our things away, her humming a faint tune.
Going back out to my pickup, we drove around town to see some of the sights such as Lowell Observatory and to shop some of the sports stores there. Flagstaff is not big but they have skiing in the winter and hiking, biking the rest of the year, so it’s an outdoor town with a lot of outdoor supply stores. Before we knew it, it was time for dinner.
After a little talking it over, we decided on a place noted for its Surf and Turf. Over a couple of micro brews, it was a relaxed, quiet dinner. Neither of us said much as we went back to the motel and parked at our room door. Going inside, there was some small talk about the TV and the hot tub in the room. That’s the nice thing about the Flagstaff hotels and motels, they cater to a lot of winter crowd and have such things in the better motel rooms.
I asked if she wanted to try it and she said yes, that she hadn’t done anything like that in years. I admitted that I had never owned one and had seldom ever used one either. She mentioned that she had been born and raised on a southeastern Arizona ranch with few modern facilities and besides, she had had two husbands, so if I didn’t mind a few wrinkles, she was going to try the hot tub. Laughing, I said I would enjoy the view and would join her.
We both undressed and climbed in. I’m average sized at 5′ 10″ and 185 pounds, she is smaller, thin, about 100 pounds and about 5′ 6″, almost skinny but not quite. Both of us a little wrinkled, but what the Hell do you expect at our ages. We are a long way from the fabled ripped and sexy teenagers. A long, long way. The water was hot, but not too hot. We sat there and hugged a bit. That felt nice. Maybe even better than that. Very good, even. Neither of us had been in a situation like this in a number of years. She had been divorced for a number of years and my wife had been losing her memory for the last four years, or so, of her life. We both had been lonely and this felt comfortable to each of us. We kissed. Then again. That was so good, we did it some more. More touching with each kiss. Neither Kay nor I said anything, it just seemed by mutual consent that we climbed out of the tub, dried off and got into bed together.
Things went slowly as it had been a long time for each of us. As a side note to younger people, slower is MUCH better anyway, contrary to their popular perception. There was no rush. While not routine, there was nothing that we hadn’t done or seen before; it was just pleasure. We weren’t newlyweds or horny teens, just a couple of mature persons seeking pleasure. As a matter of fact, we were no longer seeking it- we had found it in each other for the moment. It was gentle. It was fun. It was pure pleasure and it lasted longer than a moment. I must confess, on my part, it was better living through chemistry. Later, we drifted off to sleep.
When we woke up in the morning, we showered, dressed and had a leisurely breakfast. While eating, we planned what to do that day. As we both had only packed enough clothes for the one day, it was decided to drive back to the Phoenix area and have lunch, with pie, in Rock Springs. It’s a place about 45 miles north of Phoenix and famous for their pies.
I reluctantly took her home and when I saw her to her door, I seriously remarked how comfortable we were together and that I would like to see more of her. She smiled, giggled and said that I had already seen all of her that there was to see, but she understood what I meant, and agreed.
We still live in our own homes but get together often, sometimes for lunch and sometimes for dinner and breakfast. At times I go over to her house and spend the day and other times, she visits my house. She has her groups that she meets with and I have my things to do, but we talk every day, often emulating teenagers in that respect. Marry? No, we won’t. There’s no reason to, but we want to remain “friends with benefits” for as long as we can. What better incentive to keep your doctors appointments. Both sets of children have noticed the upswing in our lives and think it’s great. It’s a special kind of love reserved for people that know what love really is and have experienced it.