Before my wife Anne and I got married we were living on a houseboat in Seattle.
Now, before you envision floating mansions like the ones you saw with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in “Sleepless in Seattle”, our crib was more like a tar paper shack sitting on pontoons. Sorta like the Dukes of Hazard on water.
It was maybe about 800 square feet total. The only heat was a wood burning stove. If you tripped in the kitchen you’d land in the bedroom. And the door frames were a major challenge for anyone over about 5’6”. But for everything it lacked in space and convenience, our little floating shack more than made up for with ambience and originality.
The guy who owned the place was named Horace. He was a sweet old 89 year old guy who hadn’t raised the rent in 10 years and even though he lived a couple hours outside Seattle, he was always diligent about sending someone over to fix anything that broke.
Which is why Anne and I were shocked when we got a letter from Horace right after we got married asking us to move out within 30 days!
Did a check bounce? Was he mad we didn’t invite him to the wedding? Was he upset because we weren’t living in sin anymore?
According to the letter, Horace had some “estate issues” to take care of as he was getting on in age, and had decided that he needed one of his “family members” to move into our little houseboat immediately which is why we had to go.
But when Anne called and pressed him on some details, the truth of the matter came out.
Seems that Horace’s wife of 6o or so years had just passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer’s, and, feeling somewhat “lonely” in that most manly of ways, Horace had re-established contact with an old flame named Mary that he’d originally met in Boston sometime after World War II.
While their romance was still in its infancy so to speak, it apparently made quite an impression on both of them, and even though they hadn’t seen each other since the 1940s, Horace wanted Mary to move out West and live with him in his house 120 miles outside of Seattle.
But, having been an independent, dignified, classy woman for 82 years, Mary wasn’t about to shack up with this old codger on some romantic whim from back in the days when FDR was President.
So they reached a compromise: Mary agreed to move to Seattle and live on the houseboat so she and Horace could get to know each other better before deciding what the future held for them.
You can’t help but admire a couple thinking about the future when their combined ages are one hundred seventy one.
Romantic little story isn’t it? Bottom line? Anne and I got evicted from our houseboat all because an 89 year old guy wanted to get a little action.
I hope I’m that cool when I’m 89.
Come to think of it, I was I were that cool NOW.