By Russell S. Dowd


elderly-woman2014I had one of the most interesting days of my life at Super Lake the other day when I was exiting an aisle and there stood  a woman, starring at me,  hauntingly, wantonly, and I could not divert my eyes from her. Oh, what to do, what to do? Ignore her? Pretend I didn’t see what was before me? I chose to step forward and kiss her, a quarter-lip kiss on the mouth. And then I stepped back. She’s eighty something, I’m seventy-one. Her husband has his back turned to this small event and doesn’t realize what’s going on.

Still, the haunting, wanting look persists. I step forward again and give her a hug. Not a lascivious full body hug, but a politically polite hug. And as I do so, she whispers in my ear. “It’s been a long time since this has happened to me.”

By this time, the shepherding sixty-something-year-old son has emerged from an aisle and gives me a look, as in, “What’s going on?” I give him a glance, as in, “It’s unexplainable,” and he goes about his herding of this doddering old couple.

Of course, we will cross paths again, somewhere near the freezer section, without a word being spoken. But I could see he’s wondering, who’s this guy putting moves on my mother?

Of course, it was me, the innocent one, who saw a fellow human being who needed to be touched. Awakened even! And I thought to myself, they don’t do this anymore, neither the son nor the husband has touched this woman in years. The husband is out of touch and the son thinks only about marshalling his parents about. An old age condition we all face. Marshaled or “the Marshaller.” It’s coming whether we like it or not.

Days after this encounter the event still resonates with me. I did something living, human, unplanned, and giving and it made think about her and about me and how in these blue days of retirement when we feel so useless, there was in my waning life, a shining moment.

She was once a beauty and once I was a king and when I kissed her on the lips for just a moment, we were awakened once again.


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