Reflections on a Retired Thursday


You would think retired people have seven days a week to reflect on their past lives. Not so, Smokey Joe.  There was chorus, plus a COVID booster shot on Tuesday which produced a huge headache.

“Take Tylenol,” my adult child who lives down the hall said.

“No, you’re supposed to let the vaccine do its thing,” I said.

I suffered through it and Zoomed my chorus rehearsal, definitely not as fun as being there in person.

I did Zumba Monday and Wednesday morning, squeezed in a trip to Costco yesterday before I visited Sis in her care home. Between walking one dog and exercising the other, working with my handywoman all day Monday, and reading a couple of books, my week has been pretty full.

Today was a wide-open day – no commitments, so after the dogs, I headed out for a leisurely trip to the grocery store to buy all the stuff Costco doesn’t have – D’Vita cappuccino mocha (my fake coffee not in stock yet at Costco), kettle corn, cocoa mix (not in yet), Irish Spring soap (to repel the rats that keep burrowing under my house), mascara, and a few Twix bars (instead of that big bag of candy at Costco that is only 1/10th Twix).

I had a flashback about a childhood friend, Cindy Cirksena, who lived across the street from me on 69th Street. She was the oldest of three sisters and in my grade. Cindy loved horses and was a voracious reader. She got me on my first horse, which scared the living bejesus out of me while it took off galloping after her horse, with me hanging on for dear life (no helmets in those days). She was the friend who read books that were too hard for me. When I borrowed one from her, I realized I was a poor reader.

Why did I think of her today as I ran errand after errand? She’s been gone now for twenty-some years.

I also got a mental flash about a chorus friend who led me to 50 free pots and plants last January. Did I ever thank her with a token of any kind? I did not. I hate my forgetfulness in my old(er) age.

I drove the quiet suburban streets of my town, almost home, waiting at a red light. Several cars were waiting across the busy four-lane street. When the light turned green, I proceeded forward, only to have the car coming across veer left in front of me.

“F&*%!” I yelled as I braked. Then the driver stopped and turned on her turn signal. I slowly drove around her, giving her a stern old-lady look through my sunglasses. She looked disgusted, like she hadn’t almost hit me.

Maybe that’s why my mind goes back to my childhood, when life was somehow easier but also scarier. It’s an OCD thing. Forget the stereotype of being organized. OCD is expecting the worst possible outcome of everything – roller coasters, roller rinks, deep swimming pools, bridges, runaway horses, car accidents – you name it. Now I can tell myself, it’s just your OCD. As a kid, I didn’t know why I was afraid of a lot of things.

And then the woman tried to turn left in front of me. We weren’t going that fast. It would’ve just been a fender bender, but still.

I can’t be too mad. I had a couple of nice (if scary) memories about a long-ago friend.

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