by Nancy Turnage, VRPS Central Office
The sing-song chime that the door alarm makes when it opens is what caused me to glance up. At first I didn't see anything, then the hesitant little gray head poked through. I rose from my seat and walked over, and although I didn't know it at the time, my day was about to get better and my perspective realigned.
They had driven from Charles City in the hopes of clarification. She had registered for Mixed Doubles Bowling, but she wasn't sure we received it. Her name, she told me in her slight brogue, was Annie, but everyone calls her Nan. She was worried that the nickname had somehow interfered with her registration. She began to explain, but he eased into the conversation, adding details and tidbits until I was able to piece things together, and a few clicks on the keyboard confirmed her registration and eased her mind.
They had a plan - to arrive a day early in order to pick up her packet, to stay in a nice hotel for the night, and to take their time arriving to the alley on competition day, because, although they are early birds, "these old bones don't get going so early anymore!" Oddly enough, he wasn't her bowling partner - "Bill" was. But his prevalent good nature led him to jokingly offer to "step outside" if we wanted to "girl talk" about it - how "Bill" fit into the picture! No, he wasn't her bowling partner, but it was more than apparent that he was her partner in life, and he relished in caring for her.
He spoke directions and interstates and timing (yes, he said, he still drives I-64. In fact, they were planning to drive to Texas this summer.) I looked closer, and I mentally pulled back the layers and saw the etched face of the cowboy inside - the chiseled chin, the gangly limbs of great strength, the beautiful blue eyes - and he was there. Back in my own life, Friday wasn't going so smoothly.
Virginia Senior Games is a big event in their lives. They are planning their week around them. They are carefully crossing the T's and dotting the I's so that they have everything in place far ahead of time. He proudly told me that she has two (TWO) gold medals and is going for number three this year.
It's easy to get lost in ourselves. There I was letting the irritation of life-glitches steer my mood. Then the door opened. I'm so grateful they found me, and I thank them for the sweet reminder of what we're doing all of "this" for. As they drove away in their little sedan, the customized license plate sporting a square-dancing command - another snapshot into how they spend their time - I silently thanked them, "Mr. and Mrs. Nan". And I thank you, Virginia Senior Games volunteers. It's not just a catchy phrase on a logo - they really are "forever young".