“But of course, you didn’t really say that, did you? You wouldn’t”, says Marie.
“Well, yeah, Marie, I did.” I respond.
This is the second time in as many days that someone has said this to me. Granted, it was in reference to two completely different situations. I was driving home from playing tennis and I had to stop behind Marie on Jennie Court as she had stopped her car to chat with another neighbor. Marie finishes up her chat and pulls forward to the top of her very steep driveway. I park in my driveway and we’re both in our cars hollering across at each other when I decide perhaps I’ll get out and we can converse like civilized people. Marie is about 5’8” and today she’s wearing, olive green capri pants with little buttons at the cuff, penny loafers, a puff vest and a black knit t-shirt underneath. She’s let her gorgeous short curly hair go grey and she has that lovely mediterranean olive complexion that I would kill for.
So we’re yacking…
“I was telling Moira that I’d use her to refinance if it was something I needed.” says Marie. Our neighbor, Moira, has just re-entered the workforce as a mortgage broker.
“I know, us too, we’re so fortunate.” I respond.
“Yes, we really are.”
Anyway, you aren’t there yet but my Dad, my Dad was always so careful and now that he’s paid off his condominium, and he’s in his 90’s you know.”
“So I do grocery shopping for him and I’m on the credit card so I can do that and he says, ‘Why don’t you take you and Jim out to dinner?’ and I respond, ‘But Dad, no, we don’t need it.’ And I want him to spend it on himself but there’s more than he can spend.’”
“Ah, it reminds me of Margaret,” I say.
“Yes. You know, we’re all naked in front of our accountants. And Margaret was one of the elderly clients of the law firm I worked for. I’m in my mid twenties. The law firm had quite a few old ladies as clients. And Margaret, well, there we were one day and I’m running the numbers and she wanted to know how many years she could afford to keep living. “
This is where Marie jumps in and asks “you didn’t tell her did you?”
I have Margaret seated at my left and we’re going through her accounts. I’m right handed and running the ten key with, well, my right hand.
Margaret is talking about whether or not she should/could take her grand niece on a cruise.
“Well Margaret, we can look at the numbers,” I say as I key in her annual expenses and then multiply that by twenty.
“Margaret, you’re eighty five now aren’t you?” we both know how old she is.
“Yes Martha, we both know how old I am.”
“You have gorgeous skin,” I say.
“Thank you, I have taken good care of it and stayed out of the sun.”
“You’ve been better about that than I have,” I respond.
“Yes, I know,” she says.
I look over at Margaret, her hair has been set and styled. Her hair, nails, and lips are all a perfect shade of peachy apricot. Margaret is wearing a beautiful slide bracelet. I’m wearing one too. Mine is a watch with a slide bracelet type band. Mine came from Avon and where mine has rhinestones, Margaret’s has diamonds, rubies and a real tiger eye stone on the back of her turtle charm.
“And you like this grand niece?” I ask as I pull the tape off of the ten key and show her the run rate for the next twenty years.
“Yes I do but she’s a little man crazy.”
“I understand that, and you know , ‘you will never come this way again’” I say and smile.
“Yes, I’m sure you do. And was that a quote? You made the coffee today didn’t you?”
“Yes, from a song, and yes, why do you ask?”
“Well, it’s pretty strong,” says Margaret.
“Oh, more cream, some hot water in it?”
“No, it’s fine, but I don’t think that you’re getting enough sleep, maybe that’s why the coffee is so strong.”
“I do like it kindof strong, you’re not the only one who has complained.”
“So was he worth it?” asks Margaret.
Good god I think, she’s going to ask me about my sex life or comment on my sex life. Not that that’s appropriate but I did just run the numbers on her life expectancy being 105, like, she can go on this cruise and if I’m going to address her mortality well fair is fair.
“Well…” I respond.
“And we both know how old you are as well, so maybe you can be a little more…” she just lets that one hang. So not only my sex life but my fertility as well. Nice! I am in a constant state of confusion over how and why so many people think that just because someone is old that they’re sweet. None of the old people I know are sweet.
“And, you will never come this way again either.”
“True that Margaret, true that,” I can’t help but wonder if she has somehow gotten my mother’s phone number.
“So as you can see, Margaret, the numbers are pretty clear and if you want to take this cruise, well, it’s up to you. All of the investments are doing well. Are there any changes that you need me to make to the accounts?”
“No, Martha, I think that’s all for today.”
“Shall I call you a cab?”
“No, Vincent drove me.”
“Oh, tell him ‘hi’ for me and let me walk you out.”
“I will and thank you”
“It’s always a pleasure seeing you Margaret, it really is.”
“You as well Martha and think about what I said. Time is of the essence.”
Margaret was one of my favorites and when she needed to know how many years worth of living she could afford… I told her.