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October 19, 2013

DODD: A second chance at love

“No one knows what to say in the loser’s locker room.” — Muhammad Ali

Not long ago, my mother answered a personal ad. I couldn’t have been more surprised. My mom is a walking personal ad.

When she first told me, I imagined a scene out of a slasher movie. Then she told me they were meeting at Buckhead for some lunch. It took a lot of intestinal fortitude for me not to leave work and go spy through the large plate glass windows. Had she given me enough notice, I might have applied as a waiter just to watch that first encounter in person.

Let me catch anyone up who is not a long-time reader. My dad passed away a little more than two years ago. My mom first met my dad when she was 15 years old and they were married for just short of 60 years. I won’t give her exact age, but you can do the math. My mom had literally been with my dad for her entire dating and married life.

After two long years of grieving, she told me about calling this man. Then the luncheon went well. This past Saturday, they went on a “date” to a country music show in Corydon. Sometime during the evening, they held hands. At the end of the evening, she told me she hugged him and kissed him on the cheek, thanking him for a wonderful evening. She describes him as a Southern gentleman.

She assured me there was no hanky panky. For those too young to know what that means, ask your grandpa or grandma. Had there been any hanky or panky, I would have been more surprised than when I was told she had answered a personal ad. On Wednesday of this past week, she told me they were going out again to another country music show this weekend.

I know of many seniors who had a longtime first marriage and found a second chance at love later in life. I have no idea what will become of mom and her friend, but for now I know she is excited about going out with him. And whatever happens, she now knows that there is life left for her when it comes to seeing other men.

I was actually very proud of her and very happy for her. I can only imagine how hard it was to make the call and show up for the lunch.

Someone just had to ask me a question that I probably had avoided asking myself. They said, “Won’t it bother you seeing your mother with another man?”

I immediately answered, "No.” In fact, were I to be truthful, it probably would be strange.

I know my father is not coming back or I would have already made it so. My dad adored my mom and they both surrounded me and my siblings with a loving, happy home. I am certain that all of them feel as I do in that our mom deserves very much to be happy.

I suspect the appropriate grieving has long passed. My wife Kim always says that if she died I would have another woman to take her place in no time. I always joke by saying, “I won’t bring a date to the funeral service, but the meal after we leave the cemetery is fair game.”

Hey, where is there a better place to meet eligible single widows in the mood for some consoling than after a funeral. I mean, really!

OK, sometimes I am not sure if Kim even thinks I am kidding. I do know that a widowed or widower septuagenarian still has life to live and love to share. I know that my father would want very much for her to be happy. That was his nature and the wish that he had personally confided in me not long before his passing.

I kind of smiled quite a bit at the prospect of my mom dating. I feel pretty sure that dad is smiling as well. He always wanted so badly to see her happy.

For now, I think she is. I think that’s pretty cool.

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