All the Single Ladies…

Today was a great day.  I had my fiscal year-end review at work and got a raise (applause).  I taught a skin-care class in a salon and everyone laughed at my ridiculous jokes (humble bow).  I stopped by a friend’s house for cupcakes & coffee in honor of her 31st birthday on my way home from work (frosting-mustache-smile).  I had a great phone chat on my work commute, I didn’t run out of gas, I discovered a drive-thru Panera, I wore my favorite earrings, the Colorado mountain view was especially breathtaking, and dare I say – I had a fabulous hair day (confident hair flip).

Yes, today was a great day.

Finding myself in an especially good mood arriving home from work, I started up the stairs to my 3rd floor condo with a smile.  Betty, my elderly neighbor lives on the 2nd floor, and often keeps her door propped open to enjoy the cool, evening breeze.  Tonight was such a night.  Pausing to say “hello!” as I often do, I saw Ellie and Marge, two other elderly women in our condo community, sitting around the table, chatting.  Marge’s cane was propped up against her, Ellie was sporting a leg brace and Betty had the evening news on in the background.  Opening the screen door to give some hugs and hello’s, they invited me in to join them.

I was dressed in my customary salon attire – all-black dress clothes.  They were dressed in an assortment of turtlenecks, cheetah-print shirts, and loafers.  I set down my Blackberry and day planner…they set down their inhalers and pill boxes.  Secretly, I hoped they might crack open a box of Scrabble or Dominoes…I was in the mood for a good old-fashioned board game.  Or maybe we could talk about the good-old-days, and they might share some stories and black & white pictures, I thought to myself.

No sooner had the thoughts crossed my mind, and suddenly a change of topic was in the air…MEN.  “Oh yeah, guess what girls?!” said Betty.  “My BOY-TOY called last night!!!!” 

Did I really just hear that?

“Noooo!!!!” gasped Marge.  “Not your TOY-BOY Mitch!?!?!”

Yes.  Yes, I did.

“Ohhh yes, Mitch!  He was callin’ to see if this old-lady’s still got it goin’ on!!!!” said Betty with a shake.

I couldn’t resist.  “So, um, Betty.  How old is Mitch?”

{all of them giggle}

“My Mitch?  Oh honey, he’s 22 years younger than I am!  He’s my BOY-TOY!”

Please stop saying that.  Please stop saying that.  Please stop saying that.

Ellie: “That’s what I need!  I need myself a BOY-TOY!  I’m signing up for and I’ll only take ’em if he’s at least 7 years younger than I am!!!”

So 89 it is, then.

Just then, they all tuned into the television where a display of muscular firemen were being interviewed on statewide wildfires.  Not knowing when to keep my mouth shut, I said…

“I never seem to know what’s going on since I don’t have a TV…”

All eyes shifted back on me, jaws fell open…and three sets of dentures dropped to the table.  In unison, “NO TV?!?!?!?!?”

I swallowed hard.

Fortunately a young, hunky fireman on TV captured their attention once again.

When the conversation picked back up, Betty shared about her experience jumping on a large trampoline with her daughter.  “Oh cute!  How long ago was that Betty?”  I asked, intrigued by these memories of her youth…

Betty:  “That was 2 weeks ago honey!!!”

As these three single ladies continued to laugh and share stories about men, adventures and livin’ life on the edge, I couldn’t help but smile.  Woven into the laughter, a somber memory of a lost husband was mentioned.  Mixed into stories of adventure, a difficult season of life was shared.  As minutes turned to hours, I felt encouraged by the power of Story.  Stories of women who were closer to “the end” of life on Earth than to “the Beginning.”  These stories were messy, hard, filled with kids in the hospital, smoking addictions, abusive relationships, financial rollercoasters, unexpected death of a spouse, and years of hard-work.  In the same breath, these stories were filled with New Beginnings, love, second chances, victories, community, friendships, and…(oh gosh) Boy-Toys.

I love that these women find themselves still laughing.  I love that these women find themselves sticking together.  And I love that these women were willing to spend a few hours with a crotchety-old-young-person like myself.  One who can always use the reminder that yeah, life has seasons of hard-heart-stuff…but every season one day becomes a memory.  And these memories come to be known as simply Our Story.

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