It was pouring rain that evening when I got into my car. Struggling to close my large umbrella, I ended up getting more wet than if I had no umbrella at all. I giggled at myself and how inept I am that I cannot even operate something as simple as an umbrella.
Now thoughts of this evening and the promise of so much fun made me feel silly to have worried about a little wetness. Everyone has an idea of what is fun. For me it is live music and visiting with good people. This was a night last summer when my son Eric played a songwriters round show at a well known bar on the Florida-Alabama state line. It is aptly named FloraBama. When it was destroyed about 10 years ago in a hurricane (I believe it was Hurricane Katrina but I'm not sure), they rebuilt it much bigger and much better. The original place was what most would call a “dive”.
FloraBama now includes a large gift shop, and a listening room type songwriter bar upstairs (they call it the Main Room). They feature several stages and bars under one roof and they even have one large stage out on the beach.
Amazingly they also have church service at FloraBama on Sunday morning with two service times offered. It is quite different from the original dive bar it once was years ago.
When Eric plays FloraBama, he is in the Main Room where they have songwriter type shows. It is a room where people give the musicians their full attention. In this room people are listening, clapping, sometimes even singing along. We see our beach friends and others we know who are there on vacation and some who drive the distance just for the show. It is a diverse group that gathers at this venue.
After a couple of hours, someone tapped me on the shoulder, I spun around in my chair to see an old friend and past co-worker I had not seen for many years. It was delightful to see her. To my surprise there was a guy with her that I also knew but I had never seen the two of them together. I remember being surprised they knew each other. After briefly catching up and chatting about old days, they found a seat. Most chairs were filled, so they found a place in one of the booths that are lined up next to the wall and I was at a table that was in the center of the room with a couple of ladies I know. They happened to see my Facebook post about the show and joined me. The ladies who sat at my table are great people who enjoy life to the fullest and they had a plan for the evening. I believe their plan would be called "drowning your sorrows." They are about half my age, more the age of my kids, but that is not unusual for me. I have a lot of young friends after following my son's music so many years. Someone dropped them off, they told me they would probably get a cab back to the condo because they planned to get “wasted” tonight. I asked these ladies why they felt like they needed to do that and they put their hands on their hips and glared at me. That is when I remembered both had been through break-ups recently and to them it seemed like the right thing to do. They are grown folks, who am I to question their choices.
As time passed, I got up and meandered across the room to stretch my legs a bit and decided to go to the ladies room before I returned to my seat. This place has a very large restroom, I walked to the last stall and when I stepped out, there stood my old friend. She said, “I need to talk to you”. I washed my hands as she waited and we stepped out. I felt a strange feeling, like when you say “A possum just ran over my grave”…that kind of feeling. She said, “Juanita, what can you tell me about the guy I am with?”
I was momentarily speechless. She is out with this man, yet she wants me to tell her about him. When I gathered my thoughts I told her I had not seen him in at least 5 years. I was never that close to him but I always considered him to be a nice guy.
It turns out that they were on their first date ….first date at FloraBama? I would have preferrred a coffee shop or a quiet restaurant. It has been many many years since I was in the dating world, but to me it was important to be in a place where things are conducive to conversation if you are getting to know someone. They met on a dating website and this was their first time to actually see each other. I have friends who are single, divorced and widowed that have tried those dating sites and they tell me horror stories about them. Even the one called christianmingle.com which are supposed to match you with a person of faith. Though I was told however meeting a person of faith is not a guarantee. Most tell me that it is full of people who are looking for a one-night stand.
This friend of mine said she used ourtime.com (which is for singles over 50 years old). I wished her well and I meant it. I think searching for someone to enjoy life with, is good and using those things available, even dating sites, is a personal choice. As I write this I wonder if they are still together...or was it a one-night stand?
No matter our age, everyone wants someone to share their life with, share the joys and lend a shoulder for times of sadness. We all want to be comforted and we want someone to laugh with; it is just our nature. I know ladies and gentlemen that are my mothers age (late eighties, early nineties) who are dating. When these wonderful people start telling me of their dates, it sounds like teenagers happily describing their newest love. This proves to me that as we age, our hearts stay young. A wonderful discovery.
My life and my marriage are not perfect. But I know he has my back and he knows the same about me. It does not have to be perfect to be wonderful. Love takes work, perseverance and desire. We should always seek love and hold on tight to it.
However at times, life these days with Leon is as confusing as the two headed-turtle I saw yesterday.
Life is simple, yet sometimes love is complicated, no matter the weather.
(note:I lost my sweet husband Leon on July 17, 2017...it left a big empty place in my heart)