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Another Day in the Country

Playing the age card

© Another Day in the Country

My mother had a thing about not wearing men’s clothes. More than a whim, it was a tenaciously held belief, with the ferocity of a creed.

If she did put on a pair of slacks, out of necessity — say she was painting a house and up on a tall ladder — she’d wear a skirt over the top. Never would she be found just wearing a pair of pants,

Because of how long I’ve been writing this column in the Marion County Record, I may have told you this story before.

But perhaps at my age, you’ll humor me. Or your age, you’ve forgotten.

With winter coming on when we brought Mom and Dad back to Kansas from Oregon, I thought she needed warmer clothing than the pink polyester dresses she favored.

So, one day, when we were in Salina, I saw a sporty “track suitishly” cozy outfit in her favorite shade of blue and bought it, hoping I could convince Mom to at least try it on.

She must have been clairvoyant. I hadn’t even brought the new outfit out of the car. It was still lying on the back seat in its packaging when my sister and I stopped by.

Suddenly, the subject of clothes came up, and my mother got that certain look in her eye and said, “Now don’t you girls ever think that at my age I’m going to put on a pair of pants.” 

We didn’t say a word. We just took the clothes back to Dillards.

Adjusting at any time — let alone because of age — can be a difficult thing to do, and we are called upon to do it all the time.

Sometimes, we just don’t want to.

When my sister turned 55 and in some places she could get a senior discount, she refused to do it. She didn’t want people to know she was “that age.” She didn’t need the discount and she didn’t want it.

Many, many years later, however, — in fact, quite recently — a friend told her that certain restaurants offer a “senior coffee.”

I chuckle when she pulls into McDonalds and asks for a “senior coffee” with her Egg McMuffin.

Now, I must admit I love getting that senior discount at the supermarket even though it barely pays the tax. It’s a sweet idea.

I have made some concessions to my age. I don’t climb high ladders — not that I don’t think I could; I’m just trying to learn to be more cautious.

High heels have been crossed off my list, although they haven’t left my closet. 

A few months back, when spring was promising to come, I saw a pair of the cutest wedge-heeled sandals (on sale for $15) in a lovely burnt-orange color, and on impulse I bought them.

“These will go perfect with those flared-leg jeans that I bought,” I told my sister, justifying my impulse purchase. “Those jeans are a little long.”

I opened the box and propped those delicious-looking shoes in a corner of my bedroom so I wouldn’t forget about them, but I still haven’t worn them. I’m waiting for an occasion to dress up and insist there be curb service, level ground, and paved streets.

At my age, I have a heck of a time reading fine print.

Who decided that buttons and knobs with writing in black on a black piece of equipment are appropriate?

Do manufacturers not have any other color choices? Try red or what about white? Maybe you should hire someone over 65 to give you advice!

At my age, I think, does every ad have to be sexualized? Is this the only thing people notice? Do you remember the word “subtle,” or did you just glance and think I’d meant “subtitle”?

I wonder, at my age, whether I should wear a dress above my knees or chuck the shorts? Is my lipstick too bright or my makeup on crooked? 

Being the oldest person in the room isn’t easy. If I don’t remember your name or I didn’t hear you correctly or make a mistake, don’t think I’m senile. I probably just forgot to wear my hearing aids. 

Give me a break if you’ve changed your name, your wife, or your sexual orientation. I’ll adjust, eventually, but it may take a little time, and I mean no disrespect.

I was reading an article in a magazine that kept saying “them/their” and I naively thought, “Who else was there?” then realized those were their new chosen pronouns.

Choosing things like that is fairly new concept for most of us.

If I don’t get your ethnicity, your personal pronoun, or your partner classified correctly, be gentle. 

At my age, I love it when you come by to see me, love me, listen, offer to help, tell me a funny story or about some good book you’ve read, send me a picture, take me to lunch, and — believe me — when I remind you that we’re so lucky to be together, spending another day in the country.

Last modified May 29, 2024

 

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