Romance, it’s what keeps life not just interesting, but makes life a joy to behold. It’s the breath of, dare I say, the heart beat of life itself. It’s happiness of the highest order, and once you’ve known it, you’ll never want to let it go.

Receiving romance and giving romance doesn’t come naturally to some folks, and like an old bottle of aged Scotch, it takes some folks time to acquire a taste of how to do it right.

Many young folks think romance boils down to flowers, gifts like nice jewelry, and dinners out at the finest of restaurants. That, my dear young ones, is the art of seduction. Although, seduction is a form of romance and very pleasing, it may be followed by words such as, “you complete me,” or “I can’t live without you,” and most likely, “let’s make this a permanent arrangement. Will you marry me?”

I hope it doesn’t happen that way for you, but if you do hear the words “You complete me,” or the others following, it run for your life. What’s after you is a Mac Tractor trailer truck fully loaded on fire planning on running all over you, and backing up if necessary to do it over again and again if you say yes to his request.

The nice thing about being in the winter of life is I have been there before you. I know stuff in the romance department that might pave the way for you.

Romance isn’t a thing you give or get for something in return. Romance comes from a person who knows who they are, so they are already a complete person. If you’re not complete yet, you might want to work on that. You want to end up romanced by a winner, not a loser.

Real romance takes on many forms such as holding hands in silence or snuggling in one another’s arms until dawn. It can be talking for hours on end about whatever is on your mind and listening to the other person without being bored or having the desire to interrupt to inject the ‘could a, would a, should a’ advice.

Real romance is really a series of little miracles. The person giving romance feels blessed for the doing of it, and the person on the receiving end blessed to know it when they receive it.

I remember a time ten years into my own marriage when we were blessed with a daughter. She didn’t come with instructions, and before we knew it, we found ourselves buying a big house and a station wagon.

We racked up the credit card debt every time the little bugger pointed at something we thought was a have to have for her. In reality, she was a screamer of the highest order, and not knowing any better, all we were doing was making it worse.

Gone were the quiet dinners at home. Dining out at our favorite haunts was totally out of the question. If we had had the money to go out for dinner and a show, which we didn’t, who in the world would babysit Dennis the Menace’s, first cousin?

Her daddy found himself taking a new job requiring him to travel. He was making more money, but we were like two little grumbles in debt up to our eyeballs on a never-ending merry go round. Romance it appeared was in the rear view mirror.

Where had all my romance gone? I wanted to know, so I called the only person in my mind who knew everything there was to know about romance, my grandmother. After all, grandpa died with a smile on his face. “Dry those alligator tears of yours,” she said when she heard my voice. “Bring that pretty little precious great granddaughter of mine and come for a visit.”

I left my husband a note saying, “I can’t take this anymore. I want my romance back. I’ve gone to grannies. She’ll know what to do.” I put the last twenty dollars to our name until payday in the gas tank of the station wagon and drove all night to my grannies home.

She greeted me at dawn with a nice hot cup of coffee and pancakes on the griddle. Her precious great granddaughter never seemed to ever cry, scream, or give her an ounce of trouble.

My granny looked at me and said, “Sweetie, I want you to go take a hot bath and a nap. I’ll wake you once I’ve worn this little one out and put her down for a nap. Then we’re going to get to the bottom of what’s troubling you.” Her big old claw foot bath tub filled with hot water and lavender soap did the trick. When she woke me a few hours later I felt like a new person.

“All right dear. You said when you called you wanted to know where your romance went. I know it’s not another woman. Let’s face it, you two have yourselves so far in debt he couldn’t court a McDonald’s hamburger date.” She wasn’t laughing when she said it neither.

“Now dear, you think on where your romance went while I go to the church ladies social. We’ll talk when I get back. Don’t answer the phone neither. Romance doesn’t apologize. He’s a big boy. He’ll figure it out you’ll see. It’s your job to think, and his to come for you.”

And with that, she walked out the front door in her blue handmade polka dotted dress carrying her bible and the same old patent leather handbag I remember her having when I was a little child.

Dumb founded, I went into the dining room looking to see if she had kept any of grandpa’s liquor since his passing. I opened the lower cabinet door to her china hutch, but all that was there was a bottle of aged unopened Scotch. Next to it was a stack of writing paper with a note in her hand writing on top.

She had written, “Child, I want you to write down everything you own, everything you owe, everything you can live without; and most importantly, everything you love more than life itself.” I didn’t have the heart to open grandpa’s last bottle of aged Scotch. And, at that moment, I knew my granny was the wisest woman alive.

I spent the rest of the afternoon doing exactly what she asked of me. On the last page of paper I wrote, “Thank you Granny! The most important thing to me than life itself is my family.” I noticed when she came home she had a little tare on the knee of her hosiery. I didn’t have to ask how it happened. I knew she had been praying heartily on her knees. Truth be told, I’ll bet her church ladies friends had tares in their hosiery as well.

The stack of hand written requests by her was on the kitchen counter top. She didn’t look at them. Instead, together we prepared dinner for my daughter, my granny, and me. After dinner, the three of played a game with my old wood ABC blocks until my daughter was rubbing her eyes for bedtime. Granny put her to bed with a bath and a bedtime story.

Once she returned, she opened the kitchen cabinet, took out a bottle of good merlot wine, two wine glasses and said, “Alright dear, let’s go find your romance.” The wine was fabulous and so was my granny.

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Lynn Forrester
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Lynn Forrester

Arlene, I loved your perspective on Romance. When I see young people together, I wonder how long the wanting to be close will last. When I see the couple with grey hair and wrinkles smiling at each other, holding hands and quiet frankly, (not too often), I know that the Romance they have shared over the years is authentic. I can honestly say that I still believe in Christmas and Romance.

Arlene Switzer Flynn
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Arlene Switzer Flynn

Yes indeed! Thank you for your comment. I too believe in Romance and Santa Clause.