Tameka and I took a short walk on our break today and went by the Billy Graham Library. I saw an older couple sitting out front and assume they are retired. It was the way they sat on a bench out front, the woman quietly examining the pink azaleas and the man slowly pulling a piece of paper out of his shirt pocket, his cap shielding the sun from his eyes. I bet they didn’t have a care in the world at that moment. They looked content with no particular place to be. So what if the library closed at 5 when most people get off work? They could come early and still miss traffic.
The man reminded me of my grandfather, minus the glasses. He seemed like the farmer type with few words and lots of wisecracks. I imagined him wearing starched blue jeans and crisp button downs on Sundays with a new pack of Spearmint Trident in his left shirt pocket for church — after the hymns. I bet he orders gravy and biscuits from Hardee’s. He and Papaw could be friends.
The woman also made me smile with her matching pants and sweater. Retired women always have those pants that aren’t jeans but aren’t trousers, either. The kind with the elastic waistband because I guess they figure, “So what? I’m retired now. I’ll eat whatever I want and visit the library during work hours just because I can.” They wear flower prints, and if they’re like Mamaw, always carry a purse-sized tube of Curél. They smile as if to say, “I’m ready to dish out wise advice whenever you’re ready.”
I hope when I’m 65, I can enjoy a warm afternoon on a bench without being in a hurry. I hope I don’t freak out when I find gray hairs, and I hope I’m not offended when someone gives me the senior citizen’s discount, although I don’t drink coffee, so maybe they’ll let me use it for ice cream. I hope I embrace my laugh lines and still wear red dresses. I hope I’m in the Red Hat Society. I hope people hold doors open for me so I can say things like, “Thank you, young man,” and I hope Pete still calls me his bride. Most of all, I hope I have kids who come over and do the dishes for me because I’m sure I’ll be sick of it by then.
(By the way, I can’t figure out how to get my picture captions clearer and it’s maddening, so I stopped trying. Maybe by 65 things like that won’t frustrate me.)