Shades of Things to Come

I’ve had cabana boys for ten years. In the past, each has been a friend of my youngest. They move into my modest unattached guest quarters, where I charge no rent, willingly do their laundry, and feed them occasionally. They, in turn, would change a light bulb I couldn’t reach without endangering my life, house/dog sit when I was away, and keep well-entertained with their take on the world.

I had been without a cabana boy for almost six months, since the former graduated from college. Then, in November, I was approached by the daughter of a 91 year-old guy. His wife of 52 years kicked him out and wanted a divorce because she had a boyfriend! I agreed to what I thought would be a temporary arrangement until the couple reconciled. However, nothing has changed. And obviously, I’ve had to seek out new light bulb changers and dog sitters because “Grandpa” is not capable.

Since he’s almost twenty years older than me, I think he’s Dickens’ ghost of Christmas Future. As I watch and listen, I wonder if that’s my inevitable. He stopped driving years ago, rarely knows what day of the week it is and tells me the same stories over and over. On Saturday afternoons, I drop him off for free Texas Hold ‘Em, and he rues losing all of his chips.

We usually go to the neighborhood bar for Fish Fry every Friday. Last Friday night, the owner came over and sat with us. Her server brought our dinners and a huge wad of napkins. When we finished eating, “Grandpa” asked: “Sharen, what do you do with all these napkins that she left on our table?”

“We have to throw them out.”

“Oh,” he said, “May I have them?” Sharen nodded, and we ambled back to my car with a fist full of napkins! I was tripped out; my insides were shaking with laughter. Thank God, it hadn’t been catsup packets!

So if you ever see me with napkins hanging from my purse, you’ll know I’ve fulfilled the prophecy.

So, if I’m out to dinner with you and I randomly begin picking up napkins and stuffing them in my purse, be assured, I’ve lost my mind!

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