Duck and Cover

Duck and Cover

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Mom

Duck and Cover

There can never be enough said of the virtues, dangers, the power of a shared laugh.
~Françoise Sagan

My mom and I are super close. Not only do we look like sisters (seriously, I’m her carbon copy—it’s freaky), but we share everything. Every date I go on, bad or good, I promptly tell her all about it in gory detail. She gives me the benefit of her years of experience with men, providing top-notch advice, even if I’m not always thrilled at the time with what it is. She’s my go-to-gal for all things male. Which is why I was shocked when my sometimes... ahem, interesting... dating experiences prompted my mom to start dating again too. Honestly, I was proud of her. It’s one thing to endure the soul-crushing, ego-bruising of the dating world as a young, single thing. It’s another to subject yourself to it post-menopause. So, I gave Mom the full support she always gave me as she re-entered the dating world.

A few weeks into it, Mom and I found ourselves at the mall, and I asked how the dating life was faring.

“Ahn.” She shrugged.

“Hmm. Just ahn?”

“Well, okay, there is this one guy....”

So, I dragged out of her that she’d met a retired former Navy captain. The first date went okay, and he asked her out for a second for that coming weekend. “But,” she said, “he wants to go hiking.”

Normally, hiking would be fun. But when a gal first meets a new guy, it’s probably best not to go out in the wilderness alone with him until you really know each other. So, I agreed with Mom, hiking was not such a hot idea. As we strolled through the department stores, I offered up some alternatives. A stroll through the park? (Kind of like “hike-light.”) A walk through downtown? (Like hiking, but with window shopping.) Dinner and a movie? (Okay, nothing like hiking, but always a good reason to snuggle.)

We were making our way through men’s wear, and I was running out of ideas, when Mom stopped mid-step, abruptly veered right, and power-walked in the opposite direction.


I jogged after her, catching up just as she shoved me around the corner into housewares.

“What was that about?” I asked.

Mom pointed over my shoulder. “That was my date!”

I turned around. “Who?”

“The captain. The hiker wanna-be. He’s here!”

No. Way. What are the chances? So, I peaked around the corner just in time to see a tall, blond guy paying for a pair of gray slacks. He was slim, with a thick head of hair, strong jaw. Not bad, really. So, I said, “Let’s go say hi.”

Mom shook her head. “No way. Can’t.”

“Why not?”

“I’m wearing the same outfit I wore on the date!”

I looked down. She was in flat-front jeans, black shirt, white cropped jacket. Pretty cute date outfit, actually.

“If he sees me in this again, he’ll think I don’t have any other clothes!”

I did a giggle/snort thing. But, I had to agree. In her situation, I’d totally duck, too. No one wants to be a fashion one-hit wonder.

So, we hid out in housewares (picking up a new set of margarita glasses and a nacho bowl along the way) while waiting for him to finish shopping. Finally the coast looked clear and we emerged, making our way back through the mall.

Only we made it just three stores in before Mom grabbed my arm and veered left again.

I looked up.

The blond guy was dead ahead, coming right toward us.

Mom propelled me into the nearest store, shoving me behind a rack of A-line skirts.

“Oh, no. Oh, crap. Do you think he saw me?”

I peaked out. He was making a beeline for the exit, no sign of recognition on his face.

“Doesn’t look like it.”

She sighed with relief. “Oh, thank God.” Then her expression relaxed and she let out a little laugh. “You know, maybe I will go on that second date. We’re obviously a lot more alike than I thought.”

“Because he likes the mall, too?” Hey, I gotta admit, a Navy captain who does power shopping is almost too good to be true.

But Mom shook her head, the laughter growing now. “No. Because he was dressed in the exact same outfit, too!”

Thanks, Mom, for your amazing sense of humor in any situation!

~Gemma Halliday

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