You Mailed What? Where?

January 18, 2024 at 7:57 a.m. Diana Couture

Since 2009, Diana Couture has been delighting Northwest Prime Time readers with the ongoing adventures of Rose and Dawn, our favorite Octogenarians.

Dawn got her bowling ball from the closet and dusted off the outside of the bag. How do things get so dusty when I’m such a good housekeeper, she wondered. The girls were going bowling today with their friend Matilda and she wanted herself and all of her gear to look the best it could.

No matter how hard Dawn tried to relax around Matilda, she always felt like there was a competition and she had to stay on her toes to keep up. Matilda had the most grandchildren. Matilda’s daughter was a doctor. Matilda’s husband had just died and had left her very well off… and on and on. Not that Dawn was jealous, but it just seemed that no matter how she looked at it, Matilda was doing a better job at life than she was.

Dawn finished ironing a crisp cotton shirt to wear over her ever-present turtleneck undershirt just as Rose came down the basement steps. 

“Hi Dawnie. I would have been here earlier, but I had to cuddle with my new kitty. Pixie needed some snuggles. You know, Dawnie I never thought I needed an animal, but this cat makes me smile every day. Can you see my smile?” 

Dawn looked at Rose and scowled.

“Hey honey. What’s up with the attitude? Is it that time of month?” 

Dawn looked at her friend with wide, unbelieving eyes and both girls burst into laughter at the same time. When they were able to catch their breath, Rose said, “And by that time of the month, I mean when the Social Security checks are due.” The girls doubled over and held their respective stomachs while they continued laughing.

“That’s better, Dawnie. Now, tell me why you’re really feeling rough.” 

“To tell the truth, it’s Matilda,” Dawn said with a note of shame.

“What? Did she cancel again?” Rose bristled. “Remember last month? She just up and cancelled our bowling date.” 

Dawn looked at Rose with surprise. “Well, her husband died, Rose. What was she supposed to do?”

“Oh yeah. I forgot,” Rose apologetically murmured as she stuck her head in the fridge to see if there were any goodies for a quick munch. 

Dawn said with a pout, “I can’t relax around her. She’s too rich and too… well, too perfect.” 

“Unlike me,” Rose laughed with a piece of cold chicken in her mouth. With that, the girls headed out the door for the short drive to Lakeside Lanes.

Matilda was sitting at the lunch counter at the bowling alley. “Hi girls,” she waved and tried to smile but it was clearly an effort. 

Rose and Dawn sat down on either side of her.

Rose looked at their friend with empathetic eyes. “Mattie, I see sadness in your eyes. Is it too early after Dave’s death to be out and about?” Mattie burst into tears and put her head on Dawn’s shoulder.

“What have I DONE?” Matilda cried. It was loud enough to bring the attention of the counter clerk. Rose signaled that no service was needed. 

“Honey, tell us. What has happened?” Dawn said into Mattie’s hair.

Through her tears Matilda began the story of her husband’s unexpected death and all of the arrangements that went along with that. The girls nodded knowingly. Mattie shared some of the intimate details of the family viewing the body of her dear departed husband and how happy she was that her multitude of children and grandchildren were there to help her through this rough time.

There was just a hint of eye rolling on Dawn’s part while the story unfolded. The widow then told of how her oldest daughter had tearfully gone up to the casket, reached in and snipped a lock of hair from her loving father. She handed it to her mother and Mattie, unprepared for this show of tenderness, rooted around in her purse for an envelope in which to place the precious lock of hair.

Rose and Dawn continued to hold Matilda’s hands. “Well, that sounds lovely, Mattie. Did you have the hair framed?” 

A loud sob from the widow again attracted unwanted attentions.

“That’s just it,” Matilda went on. “The envelope in my purse was one that was ready to be mailed with a credit card payment.”

More sobs. More arm patting. Mattie continued. “I mailed the lock of Dave’s hair by mistake to Bank of America in New York!”

Diana Couture's series, The Ongoing, Life-Affirming Adventures of Rose and Dawn, was inspired by Diana Couture’s aunt and her aunt’s best friend. This colorful column was born when she set about telling these dear octogenarians’ true-life experiences. Rose and Dawn remain perennial 80-somethings to this day. Diana's entertaining Italian family continues to inspire her to write; the stories literally come from what happens to Diana, her friends and family.

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