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How Old Are You Now?

Short Story: At my mom's in Dunnellon, Florida. Head to the Winn-Dixie with Coletta to pick up a roasted chicken, potato salad and tea. I notice these young ladies waiting in line behind us at the Deli with flowered tiaras. There were about five of them all with the flowered head pieces. I inquired, "I notice you all have the same flowers, they look great, what's the occasion?" "Well, it's her (pointing) birthday." "Oh," I respond, "Happy birthday. Is it a special one...18?" "21!" she says beaming with a huge smile. "That's a great age, make the most of it," I reply, then because it felt right and I tend to excel in self promotion and ego-gratification and I am NOT a President, asked her, "How old do you think I am?" She gave me a quick look over and then ventured a guess, "50!?" I now glowed, and quite innocently asked if I could hug her. She gave ME a nice hug. "How old ARE you, her friend asked. "What are your guesses," I replied. "56?" "Closer, but no. I'm 67." "Wow you're as old as my father," which was said in a way that meant, "Wow, you don't look like you're old enough to be my father." And my ego just glowed. "I once opened a fortune cookie that read, 'You're only as old as you act. I figure by that reckoning I am stuck somewhere around 10." They all laughed and pointed at the birthday girl in recognition of some private joke. It was one of those moments, a brief connection with people where everyone walks away feeling a little lighter. I know I did.

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