[dropcap]I[/dropcap]’ll call her Ethel, though that’s not her real name. I met her in the Walmart checkout line. A little about her: Ethel’s eighty-three years old, from Luverne Alabama, and wears a skimpy bikini.

One with flowers on it.

I helped out to her car, then loaded the groceries into her Buick. I did my absolute best not to stare at her. I looked at the the ground instead. It felt indecent to make eye contact with an elderly woman not wearing enough to fry chicken safely.

But that didn’t mean she wasn’t a sweetheart.

She was.

Ethel came to Florida to see her grandbabies roll around in the sand. It’s only the second time she’s been to our sunny state, even though she lives two hours away. She said she worked all her life and never had time to vacation.

By the looks of her hands, I’d say she was telling the truth.

Long ago, when first married, her husband promised her a trip to Miami. He swore they’d drink fruity drinks right on the beach, and stay in one of those motels with plastic flamingos out front.

But he never got around to retiring.

He died two years ago.

“See,” Ethel explained. “The trouble with being poor is it takes up all your time.”

I helped her crawl into her driver’s seat with my eyes closed.

“I’m off,” Ethel told me. “I’m ’bout to go on the beach, and watch my grandbabies swim.”

I hope someone makes that woman a fruity drink.

1 comment

  1. peggy - October 13, 2015 1:57 am

    You had me at “and she wears a skimpy bikini.” Loved this. I hope I have that sort of care free attitude if I make it to my 80’s. Thanks for the great stories!


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