Invited for lunch today with Ron and Babs, the couple of the year. They met online in 2006 when Ron was 73 and Babs was 63. Now he’s 90 and she’s 80 and despite a few health issues, they’re madly in love, got married this summer. We ate in Cranberries, the little restaurant around the corner from where they live, and Ron told me that after their lunch there a few weeks ago, when he called for the bill, the waitress said it’d already been paid by the man at a nearby table. Ron went to thank the stranger, who explained that he was so moved by the love and cheer shared by the couple, he’d paid for their lunch. Ron says things like that happen to them regularly. I guess people are surprised to see an elderly couple still obviously enjoying life and each other.
Not only that, but Ron published two books this year: the story of Babs’s life that he wrote in her voice, and an illustrated book of her poetry. He has also fallen in love with writing and writes every day, is starting a Substack in January. Every day at 5 they have a glass of whiskey and listen to jazz, though Babs, originally from Liverpool, is also a Macca maniac, like me.
Inspiring and beautiful.
Yesterday, lunch with my dear Rosemary, another inspiring elder, recently made Senior Editor at Simon & Schuster. Truly eighty is the new fifty. Hooray!
On the way to Cranberries, I bought the last groceries — cream cheese, clementines, and Christmas cookies — and on the way home stopped at Mark the butcher for my turkey, carried the 14 pound bird and a pound of stuffing meat home on my back. Just went out to get a tablecloth I’d had dry-cleaned for Anna. And that’s it, I’m nearly done, one more errand tomorrow. Last night, PBS played a choir singing the Messiah, so I put it on and sang along while wrapping. “Wonderful! Counsellor!” Almost everything under the tree is from Doubletake, except the stuff for the boys. A coat for Anna for fifty cents. Sam’s was expensive — $30.
It is a cup runneth over kind of day, despite the dark wet gloom. The teacher assessment forms came back yesterday from U of T, the best yet, the highest possible marks, with comments like “Beth’s ability to bring out the best in everyone, keep them inspired, provide criticism in a positive manner, and get a group of students from twenty something to seventy is almost Sage like. She’s an amazing instructor, and I love her writing. I enrolled in her Life Stories II course, and can’t wait for it to begin. U of T is very fortunate to have her on its team.”
Usually there’s at least one grumble that hurts, but this time, not a one. So that did my heart good. And then my friend and former writing student Rita Davies, the Chair of the Ontario Arts Council, sent this: Congratulations on Mid Life Solo. It’s engaging, funny, sad, and spilling over with your warmth and intelligence.
Thank you, Rita!
As I’ve said often before, it’s hard to feel satisfaction or comfort when the world is in such dire shape. Although in the paper this morning, a possibility of peace in Ukraine? But the pictures from Gaza are unbearable. As Ron said today, We Canadians are the luckiest people on earth.
And here, I’m alone, as almost always. The house is silent. There’s cooking and cleaning to be done, not to mention my own work, but tonight, whatever I can scrounge in the fridge, a glass of wine, reading and/or TV by the fire, sending gratefulness into the universe. It was not always thus; it will not always be thus. So for right now, the word is yes. Yes yes yes.
The front door from the inside, looking out at the lopsided wreath and Xmas lights on the forsythia. The sign reads both ways. May it happen.