I have been buried in work. When you are a freelance writer, sometimes you are slow and sometimes you are so busy, you see the alphabet doing Riverdance while you sleep.
The world is pretty crazy right now. The Cornona Virus (I cannot help feeling sorry for the beer because people are actually linking it with the virus and not buying it, which is impossible to believe, but true–are they the same people who support Trump, I wonder), forcing us to cancel a big fun trip at the end of the month, make a part-time job of finding Purell (I went to 11 drugstores so far and only found a tiny travel size, two small natural sprays and two sanitizing hand wipes IN ELEVEN STORES and finally getting price gauged on Amazon in an effort to stay clean), sing Happy Birthday twice while washing my hands 308 times a day (my neighbors are starting to complain because HAVE. YOU. EVER. HEARD. ME. SING?), stock up on non-perishable foods (because who wants to be hungry if you have to self-quarantine, or worse yet, if you actually get sick, NOT ME), and worry about my husband who is immunosuppressed because of an arthritis drug he takes. And of course, there is the shocking Super Tuesday results to ponder, with Biden as Jesus on Easter. Plus my candidate Elizabeth Warren dropping out, despite being the all-around best choice for prez, but um, she has a vagina. Yup. lots of tumult and things to think about.
But, while getting my hair dyed the other day (awe, that’s cute that you thought my hair at age 61 was naturally brown), I went next door to the salon, to one of my favorite places to eat in Brookline, Drive By Pies, (yes, with the dye on my hair, looking like a dementia patient who escaped the stylist’s chair while they were in the bathroom), where the owner Fran, makes not just the best and pie-iest pies, but also the most spectacular chicken salad on the planet earth and about a million other addictive and delectable treats, and is also a tremendously nice person, I met this amazing woman and she reminded me of all the good out there, despite the fact that the world currently seems like a global Cirque du Soleil.
She had a red one of those wheelie walker things and she was going into Drive By Pies before me and so I held the door open for her, of course. She thanked me as if nobody had ever done that for her before. As I was ordering, she turned her wheelie walker thing into a chair, propping herself in front of the vast array of pastries and muffins in the glass case, like she was watching Wheel of Fortune (she later told me she just loved the game shows). Meanwhile, Fran said, “Either you dye your hair a lot or I don’t dye mine enough,” because I always go in for lunch when I’m dying, which is every three gosh darn weeks, which made me look over at the adorable woman viewing the pastries and point to my head to let her know she wasn’t hallucinating and yes I did have hair dye on. “I dye every three weeks,” I said to Fran. “And my family has been informed that when I die, they are to make sure to dye my hair before I am going wherever I am going next,” I said, to which the wheelie walker lady said, “You’re not going to die. You’re too young. I’m 92 and going strong.” And she was. This itty bitty gray-haired woman with the bluest eyes and beautiful skin dotted with freckles was totally with it and appeared to be strong as an ox, although she did list all the physical maladies she’s endured over the years with a “who cares” attitude. Fran told me that Elizabeth, which turned out to be the wheelie walker lady’s name, gave talks to schools and synagogues about living in Germany during the time of Hitler. And then Elizabeth piped in and told me how she lost her whole family during that time. “Oh, yes, I want people to know what happened so it can’t happen again. We’ve got a nut in the white house, you know.” I told her how great she looked and how I impressed I was that she gave these talks and then I told her about Peter’s dad who’s dad escaped from a Camp and brought Peter’s dad here at age 6, where he wound up in a foster home. She listened thoughtfully. She then told me about her husband dying from dementia in his late 70’s and how men just don’t live as long as we do (she whispered this as if we were in a room full of men and she didn’t want them to know this) and how she stays in the game by thinking positive and tells people when they complain about rain to take an umbrella. And then she told me that she thought all the time about all she had to be grateful for! Ah ha! She knew about gratitude. There you have it. And then she told me she was grateful she’d met me! Then she made me laugh a few more times and I told her about this blog and we said we’d hoped we’d see each other again. And I meant it.
Today is International Woman’s Day and this is just one of the hundreds of women who inspire me. I meet new ones all the time–old, young, short, tall, all colors, all denominations. And I am so grateful to take something from them that enriches me, makes me better.
I’m so grateful for the chance encounter that allowed me to meet Elizabeth the Extraordinary. Meeting a woman as engaged as she was, with purpose and a great sense of humor at 92 is kind of rare. I realized that I had met her because she was showing me the way. Me in my hair dye and her with her wheelie walker. I am always on the lookout for people who can inspire my future, let me know that getting old can be ok. That day, it was Elizabeth. Gratitude. Lots and lots of gratitude to that feisty lady (with a side of chicken salad and big slab of pie).