The other day, I was at the grocery store, and I met the cutest couple. They were both easily old enough to be my parents, and by the way they acted, I would have bet they had been married longer than I was alive. But I would have been dead wrong. Because what I had taken as a sign of a lifelong commitment to love was actually “newlywed” lust.
Yes, each at nearly 80 years old, and on their second chance, they had just gotten married a month ago. Before that, the gentleman said, “We shacked up together for about a year before she finally let me chase her down the aisle.”
After returning home from their extended honeymoon in the Keys, the bride and groom were eager even in the grocery store to show off to everyone that they were newlyweds! Sporting at least a two-karat Tiffany diamond engagement ring, paired with the most elegant vintage wedding band I had ever seen, her one finger was probably worth more than my car.
While driving home, I couldn’t help but think of my Jersey buddy, Lily Rose, and her “Rock of Gibraltar.”
Miss Lily Rose was the first older woman I had ever met that honestly had horrible luck when it came to love. When I met her, I was a senior in high school, working part-time doing catered events in the nearby Sheraton, where my older sister Vivian was the catering manager.
Lily Rose was well into her 70s, and she was arranging her fifth wedding. Sadly, she had outlived four of her dearly beloved. Nicknamed by her closest friends a “Black Widow,” she liked to joke about the title.
She and her lady friends, three bridesmaids, and maid of honor had all been buddies since college. They had all stood by her side through each of her vows. They all stayed in touch with each other through all their new beginnings. They all joked about the decades of wedding pictures in her albums, all with the same bridal party and each with a new groom. And, of course, an entirely different ensemble.
Vivi knew I would enjoy meeting her, so she made me her assistant preparing for the grand event. That meant we were all basically at Lily Rose’s beck and call for the next few months while she arranged everything down to the last detail.
Her dress was being handmade by a designer in Manhattan. All her flowers were being flown in from Hawaii, and every piece of linen for the hall was being delivered to the hotel by her personal assistant. According to the diagram, she also had so many little favors for her guests that it was almost impossible to decipher where everything was actually supposed to be because she kept adding to or adjusting everything.
According to Lily Rose, she was used to getting everything she wanted. She was a daddy’s girl. She chose never to have children, and she purposely married men that did not want children. She liked to be the center of attention, especially when it came to her men. Looking like 50 at almost 80, I know this petite “ginger” had to have been a knockout in her early days. Not to mention, like she always said, “I’ve lived long enough to save enough so I can afford anything I want, even though I usually don’t need to pay.”
This time around, Lily Rose was extra hopeful. Not only did she find herself a new handsome, wealthy, and healthy gentleman to call her own, he just happened to be 15 years younger than her. So this time, this fiery redhead and her cohorts believed, “He might actually outlive her curse.”
Either way, she made being a bride look incredibly appealing even at her stage in the game, which made me feel hopeful for my future. She definitely taught me during the short time we shared, “You have to go with the flow. Some relationships will last a lifetime, and others only moments. Yet both will stay with you forever.”
Remember, every day you are allowed to live and love and enjoy your blessings is another day’s worth of scrapbook memories in your heart.
Laugh on. Peace out!
Lisa DeMarco is a columnist for Villages-News.com.