Postcards from the Edge

           Folly Beach, known as “The Edge of America,” is where we kicked off the annual Tour de Grandparents: 2,000 miles, six kids, 10 states, every Chick-fil-A that would let us in.

     The donkeys did not accompany us; they had a vacation of their own.  Nancy, who adopted them for five months last year, graciously invited them back for a visit. They had a great time there with their old friends and tormenters, and even wrote home!   The “postcard,” if you’re interested in doing one of your own, was designed here:

     While I was in South Carolina, I suffered a birthday – not a big one, but one leading up to the kind of birthday that will emotionally slay you.  To prepare, I’ve been telling people I’m nearly 50 for a couple of years, figuring that when it does get here, I’ll be used to the number, and it won’t seem such a shock. As always, beats the alternative.

     But then, my mother and I went to see a movie, and at the ticket counter, she tried to joke with a grim-faced cashier, saying, “Would you believe one senior and one child?” 

      The guy, not getting the humor, looks momentarily bewildered, smiles wanly, then prints out and hands over two tickets.  Two senior tickets.

    I notice immediately, but the trauma of having purchased my first senior anything was eased by the exhilaration of saving four bucks.

    I waited until we were safely inside before I started to wail.

    SENIOR?   He thought I was a SENIOR?

     Couldn’t he have at least wanted to see some ID?  Has three tubes of StriVectin done nothing for me?

  When I recovered from my AARP-induced hysteria, I asked Mom, who was still bent over laughing, what age you’re supposed to be to get a senior rate. “Fifty-five,” she told me.

   This mollified me somewhat; at least it wasn’t 74.

   But still.  Is it too much to ask for a cashier to ask for a woman’s ID when she’s requesting the geriatric rate? It seems that this should be a common nicety, like holding a door open or greeting someone with “How do you do?”

     Then my right-brain anguish  faded, and my left-brain pragmatism kicked in. The ticket taker had been young, maybe 20. To kids that age, everyone over 40 is three steps from the crypt, no matter how much Botox you’ve had. 

      So I experimented when we got back to Boston.  At the theatre, I ordered tickets for two children, two adults and one senior.   Again,  not even a skeptical glance.   Later, I tried at McDonald’s:  “Senior coffee, please.”  The horror of it all lessened with every quarter I saved.

     But the little angel on my right shoulder had to have a stern talk with the little devil on my left, about not teaching your children to lie in order to save $4.25. So it’s back to full price for me, but with a lilting hope that, when the day comes, this senior business might not be so bad.

6 thoughts on “Postcards from the Edge

  1. Jen II, Loved your post! Not to fret, you appear to have excellent genes. And, since you’re smart, savvy and otherwise completely cool (we may have to talk about the donkey thing), age will never be an issue. It’s just a number. And sometimes a discount. Embrace it. Soon you will be all grown up and ready for a colonoscopy.

    Jen I


  2. Do not fear, friends, she comes in peace. Meet the other Jennifer Graham (well, one of 1.4 million others, according to She is a wordsmith, too, and also has four kids. She is “the original” because she arrived on this planet a mere two years before me. Jen 1 has a writerly voice that is so similar to mine that we may one day merge into one person.


    1. Jen II, I do hope that is true. We’ll make sure to take the best body parts from each of us (my ears are pretty good), and you can do all the writing, because…seriously, people, she is so much better!

      Jen I


      1. Good ears are hard to come by, in every sense of the word. I will throw in the shoulders and calves. Do not – I repeat, do NOT — count on me for the thighs.


  3. This is in The Boston Globe Magazine’s “Tales from the City” today, submitted by a guy, Pete Lewis of Hollis, N.H.:

    “I was working my way through the line to get into the Boston Beer Works before a recent Red Sox game, where two 20-something greeters were checking IDs. When my turn came, I was waved in. I said, ‘I must look old if you’re not checking my ID. Without missing a beat, one of the young greeters replied, ‘Think of it as respect for your life experience’.”


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