Over the past few weeks, I’ve had conversations with several women who have expressed to me how difficult it’s been for them to find a possible partner or love interest. What shows up in their lives is either the unavailable one, the no way/no how one, or nothing at all.
I relate. I’ve been there when all the men who showed up in my life were just wrong for me. I often wonder if I deliberately picked them for that very reason. After all, if they were wrong, wrong, wrong… then, my best self didn’t have to show up either AND I didn’t have to be vulnerable in any way. Protecting myself? Maybe. Closing my heart off to the good ones? Most definitely.
Maybe while I was on the “hunt” I was just looking in the wrong places. So, when I met Bob at the mailbox one evening when I had on sweats and no makeup, it didn’t register with me that he could be the one. Plus, he didn’t fit that bad boy image that was like catnip for me. Twenty-one years later… I am grateful for our synchronistic meeting.
Well, I love stories of how people connected and why their relationships have lasted and on Thanksgiving Day, I met a very special couple with a lovely story… Russell and Polly.
When we walked into the warm kitchen of my friend’s home on Thanksgiving, I noticed an older couple sitting over in the corner just taking everything in. You could tell she was a lively spirit with bright eyes and a quick smile – almost elfin-like, while he was more upright and stiff in his plaid flannel shirt. I went over and introduced myself and she had this musical, happy voice. He was the quintessential man-of-few-words, Vermont farmer with a New England accent who peppered his sentences with “ayuh.”
I found out that they lived on the farm across the road – a farm that had been in his family for over three generations. He was eighty-six years old and still farming the land and he had a collection of antique tractors he was contemplating selling.
I was imagining that this couple had been together forever and raised a bunch of little ones out in this beautiful country setting when much to my surprise, I found out they were new love-birds. Or, rekindled love-birds, to be more correct. Just six years ago when she was a mere eighty, Polly had traveled up from Bennington for a high school reunion. Much to her surprise, she spotted Russell whom she hadn’t seen in over sixty years and her heart fluttered. She even mentioned to a friend to put a bug in Russell’s ear. “Tell him to call me,” she said.
Russell had lost his wife a few years before and he let me know he had been in big demand with the ladies. But, he always felt like they were “after” something and he wasn’t buying. When a friend told him that he should call Polly, he decided to do just that.
She wasn’t surprised to hear from him and when he invited her up for the weekend, she came. And, she never left except to go back to Bennington to pick up some things. She, of course, kept her place in Benninigton though because as she told me, a girl has to have a place to get away by herself sometimes. Ayuh, I understood.
I watched them the rest of the evening. Eighty-six and in love. Finding each other at eighty.
I thought about how many times I felt finding a relationship was not in my cards or that I was getting too old for someone to be interested in me. I thought about my friends who have just about given up finding a companion and love interest.
And, then, I think about Polly and Russell. It’s never too late.
Given up on love? Got a good love story? Perfectly okay flying solo?
I have a confession to make. I have never cooked a turkey. Not even part of a turkey, like a turkey breast . And yet, my life still feels complete.
I made that confession to someone in the corner of a kitchen on Thanksgiving Day, and she was floored. The look on her face was as if she couldn’t believe someone as old as me had never cooked a turkey or a turkey part.
The truth is, I don’t really like turkey. I eat it on Thanksgiving or Christmas if it is served and on an occasional sandwich here and there, but I never ever think that, man, I have got to have me some turkey. Never. The birds are safe with me.
For the past ten years or so while we lived in Baltimore, we ended up going to the same wonderful restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner at a beautiful inn in northern Baltimore County. In 2013, we shook thinks up a bit for our last celebration in Maryland and went to an Italian place where Bob had turkey and I had the traditional Thanksgiving dish, linguine with white clam sauce. It was lovely.
In addition to all of the other changes and transitions that our move to Vermont is bringing, I knew that how we celebrate our holidays would be up for grabs, too. In early November, we were making decisions about where we might like to celebrate Turkey Day – having a surprising number of choices at beautiful places in the Upper Valley region of Vermont and New Hampshire.
Just when we were ready to make some reservations, we received an invitation to celebrate Thanksgiving with a family and their collection of friends (quite an assortment of wonderful people) at the most picture-book pretty snow-covered farm complete with the mandatory red barn on a winding country road near Woodstock. Even better? The name of the farm is Sugar Hill Moon Farm. If I had a farm, it’d have a cool name like that.
The hostess – a wonderful woman of energy and light – took over the bird and stuffing duty (whew) and I got a side dish assignment to feed twelve. Finding a yummy recipe – wild rice/brown rice/wheatberries/other grains with roasted green beans, mushrooms, onions, cranberries and tossed in a red wine vinegar dressing… it was perfect since it could be served hot, room temperature, or cold. Added to the other dishes and desserts and plenty of cranberry martinis and wine… it was a feast to behold.
And the best part? The conversation and the people. We all came together – a collection of corporate types from New York, three dynamic artists, college students, a carpenter, and an old Vermont farmer. And, it felt like family. Like we’d always known each other.
A new tradition for us? I have no idea. But, it made me think of the times when I lived in Texas and we would have celebrations for the holiday orphans – those who couldn’t make it back home to celebrate. What a warm tradition to have. It may just be something to start up here. I’m still feeling very grateful, very blessed and full.
When you think about the meaning of this incredible time of giving thanks, why wouldn’t any of us create a special tradition we WANT to have that truly embodies the sentiment of gratitude and love? That’s my plan going forward. How would that look for you?