Grandma Gertie always said there's not a savory dish that can't be made tastier by just a touch of tarragon.

Tsunami and Me

Tsunami and Me
too big to escape now....

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Geezers Just Like Him

I'm working on the introduction, bio and dedication for Not Your Mother's Book...On Travel, scheduled for release by Publishing Syndicate on March 25. I wandered down Memory Lane this morning as I sorted through some photos taken while I lived in Guatemala, and suddenly recalled the one published piece online that I'd ever seen by my friend, Kelly Presley, who shared so many of those adventures with me. It never had much of a readership outside of the ex pat community in Antigua, Guatemala, where it had been published in an English language periodical, and among his family, so I'm resurrecting it now.

Kelly had a habit of working names of his friends and family into his stories and unpublished novels. So don't be surprised to see a nod to me from my Little Rock days in his concluding sentences of this story written just after his 65th birthday in 1998.

Geezers Just Like Me
A Central American Change of Lifestyle
by Kelly Presley
It happened in Antigua, Guatemala, just last week. I had a birthday and, God help me, I had become sixty-five years of age. Had I reached a new stage of life? Had I left the fun & frolic-filled days of middle age? I had to know the terrible truth!
In panic I tottered to my Webster’s and turned to the entry, “middle age.”   bummer! This Webster guy had ended my joyful days of mid-life at sixty-five. And worse bummer, he defined middle age as “the period of time between youth and old age.” I was now Webster’s officially “Old.” Depressing.
Having been a psychobabblist for a number of my middle-aged salad years I knew that being “old” is a major source of depression. But I don’t pee in my pants like June Allyson and my teeth are my own, even if Jane Powell demands I soak my dentures. Still I needed to know what new passage I had embarked on. I tried on “senior citizen” and “third age” but they didn’t provide emotional comfort or wear well. And “elderly” is for the truly old, not a pup like me. So, Webster’s in hand, I began the search that would lift me from the depression suffered by “old people,” and bring me my golden years.
I had nearly given up, settled for decrepit old man, when I found my Prozac, right there on page 560! The words lifted me: geezer an eccentric man or, rarely, a woman. 
That was me! Certainly having weathered the slings & arrows of four careers & as many wives would make anyone a tad eccentric and I was rarely, if ever, a woman.
Under the joyful cloak of geezerhood... I bounded from my hermitage in search of the companionship of other geezers. And I found them basking in the sun in Antigua’s Central Park. A motley crew at best, we all had three things in common; we had cast off the burdens of middle age, we were free of unholy matrimony and we were living on fixed incomes. The latter was a major source for conversation and the bonding that is unusual to a group that resembles a gathering of rogue elephants.
“The best meal for your money is at Los Tacos,” advised Rich Watson on my first day with my geezer buddies. He had been a New York investment banker and could cost-benefit analyze everything from a plane ticket to a plate of rice & beans.
“Don’t rent at those Zersch River apartments, they’re overpriced and they don’t have cable,” added Don Mut, a former Germantown real estate broker.
“And if you need a doctor, I’d advise Dr. Swazy,” added Jack Morris, a Newark house painter who was recovering from his monthly disease.
My geezer buddies...were giving me the absolute skinny and I also learned there were geezers just like me throughout Central America. Jim Hearne, a retired helicopter pilot, said you could find them from San Jose, Costa Rica, to Guatemala’s beautiful Lake Atitlan, in every city or small town with a central park and a nearby cafe for morning coffee and an afternoon beer.
As I was leaving and shaking hands with my new buddies, Terry Elders, a retired pharmacist from Little Rock, slipped a pill into my hand. I looked at it and then at Terry. He smiled and said it was “uplifting.” 
And it was... And so is geezing in Central America. Come on down! It’s uplifting.

1 comment: