Sunday, July 1, 2012


It’s bad enough that ever since I hit 60, I’ve been feeling old, wrinkled and saggy, but moving to my current neighborhood has made me feel even worse.

For one thing, just about everyone who lives on my road is young and good-looking.  The women are pretty and the men are handsome, and their children look as if they should be catalog models for “Kids R Us.”  And everyone is in great shape, too.  When I take my daily walk around the block, I see bicyclists, hikers, joggers, skateboarders and roller skaters, and they all look fresh and vibrant...while I look as if I should be picking out my headstone.

When we first moved to the neighborhood and I went for a walk, my husband asked me when I got back, “So, did you meet any of our new neighbors?”

“Yes, I did.”

“And? What do you think?”

“I think I need a facelift and liposuction.”

Last year, I was invited to the annual neighborhood Fourth of July block party, hosted by a really nice couple named Rick and Sharon.  By the time the day of the party arrived, I was a nervous wreck.

“I’m not going to fit in!” I said to my husband, who never goes to parties. “Everyone around here is so young!  They’ll be talking about daycare and I’ll be talking about Medicare!  We have nothing in common!”

“You’ll be just fine,” he said. “You’ll have fun, I’m willing to bet on it.”

He turned out to be right.  I had a great time, and there even were people there who were my age or older, so I didn’t end up feeling as if I should be reserving a room in a nursing home instead of going to a party.

A week ago, when I was out walking my dog, I stopped to talk to one of my neighbors.  She happened to mention she’d been outside gardening and Rick had stopped by to invite her and her husband to this year’s Fourth of July block party. 

“Are you going?” she asked me.

“Um...I haven’t been invited yet.”

”Don’t worry,” she said, “I only got invited a few minutes ago, so your invitation can’t be far behind.  But if for some reason you don’t get invited, you can always come with us – as our guests!”

I smiled and continued on my walk, thinking that if I didn’t get invited but still went with her and her husband, then that would make me a party crasher, wouldn’t it? 

As I approached Rick’s house, I noticed he was sitting out on his front porch.  I figured this was it...I’d get my invitation.

“Hi!” he greeted me, smiling. “How are you?”

“Great!” I said, smiling back. “And you?”

“Fine!” he said.

End of conversation.

I momentarily considering dropping a hint, like launching into a chorus of, “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy,” but I just kept on walking.

When I got home, my husband immediately noticed I looked preoccupied and asked what was wrong.  I told him about not being invited to the party.

“Well, maybe it’s a standing invitation,” he said. “Maybe once you’ve been invited, you’re considered a regular, with an open invitation every year.”

“And what if that’s not the case?” I said. “I’d feel like an idiot showing up!”

He shrugged. “There’s still two weeks until the party.  You still have plenty of time to be invited, so don’t worry about it.”

That was over a week ago.

“If I were you,” my husband said over dinner the other night, “I’d walk by Rick’s house 10 or 20 times a day just to remind him that you’re still around.  After all, maybe he thinks you’ve passed away from old age!”

I knew he was kidding, but I glared at him. “If I walked by that many times, he and his wife would think I’m a stalker!  Besides that, in this heat, I’d end up passing out!”

“Perfect!” my husband said. “Make sure you pass out in his driveway!  Then he’ll feel so bad you’re sick, he’ll give you a pity invitation!”

Again, I shot him a glare.

So as it stands right now, I’m either going to have a great time this Fourth of July, or I’m going to be sitting home in my rocking chair...knitting a shawl.

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