May We All Be This With It When We Reach Our 70s

“I wore rouge today.”

I was standing in the personal care aisle at Kroger.  I wanted to buy some hair mousse, which is in a white container, and is on the shelf about ankle height, near the end of the aisle, on the left.

“Or I guess they call it blush now.”

In front of me was a woman, late-70s, with a coupon in her hand.  She and her cart were blocking my path– not because she was careless, but because shoppers and boxes of product yet to be stocked crowded the aisle.

“I have on mascara, too.”

She batted her eyes at me so I could see her blackened eyelashes behind her thick eyeglass lenses.

I smiled and said, “It looks nice.  I don’t have any on today.”  I batted my eyes back at her.

This made her smile.

“I don’t usually wear any, but I had to go somewhere special.  I went to lunch with a friend and there were men there.”

I smiled at her, nodded my head– and tried to casually, gracefully lean over to the left, reach around her cart and grab my mousse.

It was not meant to be.

“I’m sorry I’m in your way here.  But I have this coupon for $2.00 off and I can’t find the right product.”

I could see her predicament, the hair care line she was looking for had 4 different manifestations of their products, all in different colored bottles.

So I waited.  No rush really.

“It was a free lunch at Barrington Manor.  You know that place?  It’s assisted living for old people.  I’m not ready for that place yet.”

I told her that I knew where it was, in a fancy part of town.

“They had a make-up stylist after lunch who showed us how to wear make-up now that we’re senior citizens.  I didn’t have him do mine, but I asked questions.”

{ silence as she eyeballed the shelves  }

“And they gave us a make-up bag filled with $37.00 worth of free make-up.  FREE.”

{ big smile as she continued to look for the hair care product }

“Thirty-seven dollars!”

After about 30 seconds she found what she wanted to buy, then turned to me with her coupon and her product.

“This is right, isn’t it?  For the $2.00 off.  Like on the coupon.”

I looked at what she had picked up and pointed out that the words on her coupon were the same as the words on the bottle.

“Well, I hope I can read these words,” she said.  “I taught reading for years.  That’s what I did.  Read. Words.”

And with a chuckle and a “thank you” she moved on, leaving me to grab my hair mousse off the shelf and to reflect upon what it means to age stylishly while retaining your sense of humor.

May we all be so cheerful, curious and coherent when we reach her age.


17 thoughts on “May We All Be This With It When We Reach Our 70s

  1. This is great and your ending brought tears to my eyes. It’s so true that we forget to take the time to talk to each other, smile, and be happy (especially in any kind of a store)! Thank you for passing on the inspiration.


    • Sheila, this was one of the sweetest + funniest conversations I’ve had with a stranger in years. This lady was so determined to tell me her make-up story, while continuing to shop for her shampoo. There was a twinkle in her eye that made me realize that some conversations are meant to be– and that this one was a gem.


  2. Amen. Reminds me of my grandmother – no, the other one, the quiet, dignified one that lived a very long life and aways laughed as her old age antics. Have to keep her in mind going forward.


  3. I treasure those spontaneous encounters; the world is full of fascinating people that we sometimes encounter in unexpected places. I learn a lot about life from some of those random meetings and conversations. The goal is to stay open to them, even though I’m often in a hurry. 🙂


    • Margaret, when I started down the aisle I was in a hurry. But once this lady started talking to me, I knew that I was in for a good old-fashioned chat. She was wonderful.


  4. Perfect post for today. I was at the grocery store for buttermilk. It’s always on the top shelf way above my head but I have learned that I can step on the bottom of the refrigeration unit and reach it. There was a little lady (much older than I) looking up. She saw me get the buttermilk. I saw her expression and asked her what she was looking for. She wanted the product next to the buttermilk but the containers in the front were gone. There was one way back on the shelf. That would involve me climbing up on the shelves (which I hate to do, probably against the rules too). With that a very tall young girl came over and said, “I can get that.” I was relieved but as I was leaving I was thinking that this woman came from a generation that dressed up to go grocery shopping. She had full makeup and a nice outfit on (compared to the rest of us in jeans and shorts).


    • Kate, oh I know how difficult it is to get those dairy products off the top shelf, especially when they haven’t gravitated forward. So nice of you to try to help the older little lady. Even more wonderful that a younger girl came to your rescue.

      You’re right. I hadn’t thought about how women used to get dressed up to go grocery shopping. Isn’t it amazing how different things are now? I slide in and out of Kroger sans make-up, with hair under a ball cap, wearing shorts and sandals. But that older generation of women would never consider going casual to the store. Wonder what they think of us “girls”?

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  5. I hope to be like her too. She has such a great sense of humor and enjoyment of life even as she’s gotten on in years. 🙂


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