From Chicken Soup for the Grandparent's Soul


You know you’re getting old when you stoop to tie your shoes and wonder what else you can do while you’re down there.

George Burns

It was Sunday morning. My grandmother and I were getting ready for church. Lately, I’ve been noticing her paying a little more attention to what she was wearing, examining herself for longer periods of time in front of the mirror.

“Is everything okay, Grams?”

She checked if her earrings were on straight and if her blush perfectly matched the color of her dainty pink dress.

“You have no idea what it’s like,” she said.

“What what’s like?”

“To be old and wrinkled.”

I chuckled. “Gram, it doesn’t matter what you look . . . I mean, you’re . . . seventy-five!”

She turned away from me and I immediately realized my insensitivity had hurt her feelings. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean seventy-five in a bad way.”

“Oh, it’s not you I’m trying to impress.”

Without speaking further, we drove the short distance to church. I felt horribly guilty, wondering if I should have told her how I really felt about her attractive appearance.

I trailed into the church behind her while a handsome gentleman usher took her arm. Jim, a seventy-four-year-old widower, often walked my grandmother down to her seat. He was so sweet to her and always made sure he had saved a pew for us near the front so we could clearly see the pastor.

Then like a lightning bolt, I understood what was really upsetting my grandmother! She wasn’t depressed or really mad at me! She was feeling insecure because she had fallen in love in her golden years.

“How are you, Loretta?” Jim inquired.


“My brother came for a surprise visit,” Jim explained.

“I’m sorry I missed you at bingo. I heard you won, though. Congratulations.”

I scooted down into our pew, determining that Jim must have been asking about my grandmother’s whereabouts on Wednesday as well.

Tenderly gazing down into her dark brown eyes, he escorted her to my side. After a moment of embracing her hand, he shakily pulled a crumpled piece of paper out of his pocket and placed it in her fingertips.

I waited until he walked away. “What does it say, Grams?”

She blushed. “It has his phone number and says to call him if I’d like to go to the singles dance on Saturday.”

I fought back tears of joy witnessing her brilliant smile wipe away all signs of wrinkles. “See, someone else knows how beautiful you are, too, Grams; you’re still as perfect as you ever were.”

“He just needs a dancing partner, that’s all.”

I countered, “Gram, he wants to waltz with someone who cares about him.”

Her face lit up. “Maybe you’re right.”

“I know I am.”

Watching my grandmother and Jim dance that night was something that took my breath away. My boyfriend Louis and I were worried about her and decided to drop by. With one glance, all our fears disappeared. They were swinging like teenagers, laughing and holding each other underneath the twinkle of the stars.

Nine months later, at the age of seventy-four, Jim dropped down on one knee and asked for my seventy-five-year-old grandmother’s hand in marriage.

“Yes,” she immediately replied. “But . . . there’s just one thing.”

“What’s that?” Jim wiped the tears from her rosy cheeks.

“I don’t do windows anymore.”

He clapped with excitement. And before a man of God, my family and I came together, filling his house to watch them wed by candlelight.

It’s been eight years now, and Jim and Loretta are still just as happy as the night they danced until dawn. Every time I see them together, I’m reminded that love is ageless. It’s as priceless at eighty as it is at twenty, perhaps even more.

Michele Wallace Campanelli

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