One of the problems we face going through life is learning to deal with setbacks. I’m sure it comes as no surprise to anyone of the typewriter generation that our bodies sometimes begin to fail us in small ways. If we’re lucky, we learn to compensate in various ways and keep going.
But there are significantly more difficult setbacks in life. How do we deal with losing a long loved spouse or significant other, which is one of the biggest setbacks I could ever imagine and certainly don’t even like to think about.
That’s why I love getting those Christmas letters that some people find so annoying. I delight in catching up on old friends that I don’t see or hear from very often. I got one this year that brought good news from my friend Pat from my Las Vegas days.
When I met her around 2000, she had just lost her husband of many years. Although I knew she was hurting inside, she was bravely learning to face a new and sometimes lonely world in her newly single state.
Recently retired, she began by volunteering in activities that interested her. That’s what brought her to my acquaintance. She became a docent at the Spring Mountain Ranch State Park along the Spring Mountain range just outside Las Vegas where I was a docent and member of the Docent Board.
It didn’t take me long after talking with her to realize what an asset she’d be in the organization and I talked her into running for Secretary of the Board as I knew she had worked for many years for the EPA. Not only did she prove to be a loyal and dedicated volunteer, she soon became nearly indispensable, one of the docents called on for “above and beyond duty” whenever there were more things that needed to get done than there were volunteers to do them.
Pat’s Christmas letter contained wonderful news. In October she received a beautiful engagement ring from Terry, who had moved to Las Vegas several years ago to be near his daughter and family after losing his wife of many years. The two met–you guessed it–at the historic Spring Mountain Ranch where they both volunteer their time as docents.
Here they are on one of their travels discovering and learning about each other as they visit and enjoy various parts of the southwestern United States pursuing their interest in travel.
The best news of course is that they’re planning a wedding, a private affair most likely, that will take place sometime in the coming weeks.
I’m reminded of the song Frank Sinatra made so popular when I was younger, probably the ’60s or even earlier–Edie Gorme and Steve Lawrence made a version of it as well as I recall–The Second Time Around. You probably remember a few lines as I do:
“Love is lovelier the second time around; Just as wonderful with both feet on the ground; It’s that second time you hear your love song sung, Makes you think perhaps that love, like youth, is wasted on the young …
To Pat and Terry, if you happen to be reading this, thanks for giving me permission to write about you. It really does make a lovely love story when two people set adrift in the world find each other and decide to begin a second love chapter in their lives. As the song says, there are those who’ll bet loves comes but once, and yet–I’m so glad you met–the second time around.