At breakfast this morning, my friend Tracy told me a story which demonstrates the wisdom of two well-worn expressions: “seize the day”; and “you’re never too old for love.” The tale involved my favorite old lady, Betsy, and her unusual Valentine’s Day experience.
I’ve previously written about the near fatal heart attack 90-years-young Betsy suffered in November. Thankfully, she’s made a remarkable recovery and finally seems back to her feisty self. She’s even healthy enough to date a gentleman admirer, if she wishes. As it happens, she met an 85-year-old suitor during a visit to her cardiologist last month, and he’s been doggedly pursuing her.
Despite a ticker as wonky as hers, if not worse, “Jerome” clearly refused to let ill-health and advancing age inhibit his quest for love. After Betsy’s initial rebuff at the doctor’s office, he embarked on a flower-laden endeavor to erode her resistance. Every day for the following three weeks, a florist delivered a fresh cut bouquet to her door, together with a note from Jerome requesting her presence for a Valentine’s Day outing. Each of those notes included a pithy expression reflecting his philosophy on life and romance, including: “carpe diem”; “age is an attitude”; “where there’s life, there’s love”; and “It’s okay to plan ahead, even if there’s no tomorrow.”
Until recently, Betsy dismissed Jerome’s advances. She told Tracy she’s too old to mess around with a man. After each floral delivery, when Tracy asked her grandmother what she wanted to do with the flowers, Betsy replied with her patented catchphrase: “Fuck ’em!”
Surprisingly, Jerome’s persistence eventually wore Betsy down. The week before Valentine’s Day, she ceased instructing her granddaughter to trash the bouquets, acknowledging: “It’s a shame to waste perfectly fine flowers.” Then, two days before Valentine’s, she announced her decision to take Jerome up on his offer. “What the hell,” she told Tracy. “You only live once, and the man is right. I might drop dead tomorrow, but why not makes plans for a date?”
Without further ado, Betsy’d adjourned to her bedroom so she could call Jerome. She returned minutes later, upon which Tracy playfully inquired: “So, where will you and Jerome spend Valentine’s Day?”
Betsy tersely offered the name of a church in reply.
Puzzled, her granddaughter inquired: “You’re going to church for Valentine’s Day?”
“Not the church; the cemetery.”
Incredulous, Tracy exclaimed: “What kind of guy takes a woman to a cemetery for a first date, especially on Valentine’s Day?!”
“A dead one!”
It seems, poor Jerome’s faulty heart gave out on February 7. But the man who believed in planning ahead had previously set up daily floral deliveries to his intended straight up till Valentine’s Day. Given all the effort he’d put in, Betsy figured the least she could do was spend the afternoon with him, even if, as she put it: “we’ll be separated by six feet of dirt and a coffin.”