by Mary Wakefield Buxton
Urbanna, Va.— Recently I read in the Sentinel of the high percentage of senior citizens living in Urbanna. It appears the population is aging.
Should we be making plans for our old age? For years I was sure I would never be old. But glances in the mirror suggest otherwise. I suppose I ought to plan for my retirement?
Of course, my lawyer long ago cornered me into signing every needed document known to mankind concerning “D and D.” (Decline and Demise.) I didn’t want to do it but finally acquiesced under marital pressure (nagging).
The next step: planning living arrangements. Like everyone else, I’ve decided never to budge from my home if something should happen to my better half. Let “D and D” arrive, the “Pineapple Palace” will become a home for ladies. Dogs are welcome, but no men and no cats. (Both species tempt the good to go bad.)
Also, no smoking at the Pineapple Palace, street talk, double negatives, music other than Vivaldi, Bach, Beethoven and Mozart, and sentences ending in a preposition. Fresh flowers daily in every room.
To secure lodgings at the Pineapple Palace won’t be easy. One will have to be thoroughly knowledgeable of Shakespeare and other English poets. Those who can work such quotes as “My kingdom for a horse,” “To be or not to be,” or “Out, out, damned spot!” into daily conversation will be placed at the top of the list.
Those whose great-grandfathers supported Lincoln will sleep in the west wing; those who supported Davis, the east wing. Concerning the War, warroom rules prevail at all meals.
Debbie will come each morning to sweep dog hair, followed by Dr. Robusto who will treat our latest health catastrophes. We don’t want Obama Care, we want Robusto Care. In case we run out of money (which is highly likely), we will pay our beloved doctor with jars of Miss Mary’s homemade (extra tart) orange marmalade.
There will be a dog in every room—big, furry, and kissable . . . better than men. St. Bernards, golden retrievers, cockers. Oh well, we’ll call the Middlesex Animal Facility and ask them to send over a dozen of anything. They’ll have their own door and can go in and out at leisure. No rolling in the tulips.
We adore birds. Each window will have a bird feeder and rocking chair so that a guest can stand guard and tap on the window if she sees a squirrel snitching seed.
No TV. We don’t like the news.
A computer will be set up in the office for writers in the group. Singers will have a piano in the gallery. An opera will be performed each month and the town will be invited.
Poets and playwrights will work in the River Room and dancers may practice in the gallery. Ballet will be featured, although ladies over 90 will be encouraged to convert to tap.
The walls will be lined with the Great Books and filed according to name of author. No best sellers, sex, crime, or self-help. We can’t be bothered.
All meals are served in the formal dining room. Ellen will be our cook. No dieters or vegetarians. We’ve never heard of food allergies. Eggs and bacon in the morning, cheeseburgers at lunch, and a full course dinner each evening. We love chocolate. Over 80, who cares about waistlines?
Crosswords after breakfast. We prefer New York Times but will stoop to Washington Post. Crosswords keep our minds sharp and build vocabulary. One never knows when one will need to know “etui” is a needle case and “amat” is third person-present tense Latin for “she loves.”
We walk with the dogs every morning in all sorts of weather. No whining about cold. Mustn’t grumble. Clear the streets, Urbanna, here we come.
After lunch: a shopping foray to downtown Urbanna. We stop at Bristow’s Store to see the latest fashions and Urbanna Market for prunes.
After lunch we read the Great Books for two hours with discussions on such topics as to the nature of happiness, causes for the Peloponnesian Wars and, our favorite topic, the whiches and whatfors of why.
No gossiping. We don’t care what neighbors do.
Guests will be received in the front parlor at 5 p.m. for the high point of the day—the daily drink. Weekend attire is long gowns. The only permitted fragrance is lavender with mere whiff of mothball. Only men in black tie will be admitted.
For spiritual development, Father Paul will come to speak on the glories of a righteous life, Episcopalian definition, if you please. On occasion we will invite a Unitarian to prove how liberal we are. We aren’t liberal, however, and it’s too late to change our opinions.
Check all Bibles at the door. We only use the Book of Common Prayer: 1928 version, please.