Sunday, September 11, 2011


It’s Saturday night and I’m sitting here in my robe and slippers with cup of hot tea at my side. In a few minutes, my husband and I will watch a DVD movie we ordered from Netflix.

It’s only 6:30 p.m.

Just the other day, my husband and I were talking about how much we’ve changed over the years. For one thing, we’re now in for the night at an hour when in the past, we’d just be heading out. Back then, we wouldn’t get home until 2:00 in the morning. Now, by 9:30 p.m., my husband is snoring in his recliner and I keep dozing off on the sofa, waking up just in time to realize I’ve missed the end of the TV program I’ve been watching for the past 57 minutes.

When my husband and I were in our 20s, a typical Saturday would involve taking a ride to the mountains or the beach during the day, eating dinner in a nice restaurant in the evening, followed by either going to a movie, out dancing, or to a lounge to hear our friend, Tracy Stone, sing with her band.

Now, we drive to our favorite restaurant at 3:00 in the afternoon, order our meals “to go,” and eat them at home, usually in our pajamas.

There was a time when we didn’t mind waiting in line for a table at a restaurant. In fact, I can remember once waiting over two hours for a table at the Red Lobster. Now, I wouldn’t wait in line that long even if Wolfgang Puck himself promised to cook my meal and hand-feed it to me.

One of the late-night activities my husband and I used to enjoy when we were first married was to spontaneously take a ride to either Hampton or Salisbury Beach. We would be sitting at home watching the late news when suddenly my husband would say, “Let’s take a ride to the beach!”

It didn’t matter that it was almost midnight. We’d jump into the car and head toward the coast. Usually we’d find a pizza stand or hot-dog stand still open and grab a bite to eat, then we’d kick off our shoes and take a walk along the beach.

A few weeks ago, on a really hot night, I decided to try to revive the old spontaneity. “Let’s take a ride to the beach!” I said to my husband, who was stretched out in his recliner and watching some spy movie on TV.

The look he gave me clearly told me he thought I’d been sampling the cooking sherry.

“Why would you want to leave a nice air-conditioned house and ride to the beach?” he asked.

I shrugged. “We always used to take late-night drives when we were first married. I thought it might be fun to do it again.”

He looked thoughtful for a moment, then finally said, “OK, I guess we could take a ride. It’s probably nice and cool at the beach.”

He yawned, stretched and sat up in the recliner. “Are there any places with bathrooms along the way that are open at this time of night? You know I take diuertics and can’t last more than 20 minutes without having to go.”

“I don’t have a clue what’s open at this hour. But I’m sure there must be a 24-hour gas station somewhere between here and there.”

“Do you know where my favorite shorts are?” he asked. “The ones I’m wearing are full of holes.”

I went into the bedroom to search for the shorts. It turned out they were in the dirty-clothes hamper. I grabbed his second-favorite shorts, his green ones.

“Those are tight around the waist,” he said when I handed them to him. “I won’t be very comfortable if I have to wear those during the long drive. They might cut off my circulation.”

“Just put them on, and let’s get going!”

He put on the green shorts, a shirt and his moccasins. “Do we have any small bottles of water?” he asked. “I have to keep hydrated.”

I went over to the fridge and grabbed a couple bottles of water. We finally headed toward the door.

“Wait!” he said, just as I reached for the door handle. “I think I’d better go to the bathroom again before we leave, just to be safe.”

“It’s not good to keep your kidneys totally drained,” I said. “They’ll dry up!”

He rolled his eyes and headed to the bathroom. I stood and waited...and waited.

“This might take longer than I expected,” he finally called out from the bathroom.

Sighing, I plunked down on the sofa.

I woke up over an hour later. My husband, back in his holey shorts, was in his recliner, watching TV.

“You looked so peaceful, I didn’t want to wake you,” he said.

Yep. Times definitely have changed.

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