“You need to meet somebody that’s your own age, Dad,” Tilda said to her father. “Maybe you’ll be interested again.”
“Oh honey…,” Gus said, “…I was married to your mother for 40 years and I’m not sure whether I’m ready to even think about being with another woman.”
“But dad, it’s been 7 years since mom - you know.”
“I know sweetie but you know, she was the love of my life. I can’t imagine, well…”
“Look dad, here it is. I met this woman - now don’t jump up, give me a minute okay? I met this woman recently and she’s a really nice person. And you know, the reason she caught my eye in the first place is that she was out in front of her house polishing this beautiful old hot rod.”
“Come on - now you’re making something up,” he said. “No, no really. I took a picture. Take a look at this,” Tilda said showing him the photo on her phone.
“Whoa, well what makes you think it’s her car?”
“Well, you know, I went over and asked her. I told her, ‘Gosh, my dad’s been interested in cars and hot rods his whole life.’”
She said, ‘Really?’ and then she went on polishing.”
“I said, ‘It’s such a beautiful car. Is it yours?”
She said, “Oh yes, I’ve had this car for about 27 years. Yeah, it’s a long story and I’ve got to finish waxing it.”
“So you know dad, I just pitched in and helped her finish. You know how I am and it’s not like we haven’t polished plenty of cars over time together,” Tilda said with a smile.
Gus chuckled, “You sure are helpful honey and you’re not shy with cars. You sure helped me wax a few.”
“Well anyway,” Tilda continued, “we got to talking…”
“Now wait a minute,” Gus interrupted, “you’ve been telling me now for about 6 months about this new friend you’ve got and you’ve been hanging around with her. This isn’t by chance your new friend?”
“Well, yes she is dad. I wasn’t sure for a long time, you know, whether she was available.”
“Oh I see”, Gus said, “what makes you think she is now?”
“Well, I saw this picture on her mantlepiece when we were inside having coffee after washing her car recently and it was her when she was younger standing next to a fella and I asked her about it. She told me that she always brought that picture out around Valentines Day. She said that was her husband and that he’d passed over quite a few years ago.”
“Well, we got to talking then. She said she works at an auto parts store and it’s a job she really likes. On the weekends she usually tinkers with the hot rod and sometimes drives it around a little bit though she has a regular car too that she drives to work. Anyway dad, we got to talking and she’s kind of lonely… and uh dad, you’re lonely too.”
“Well now honey, I’ve got my dog and got my good girl here”, he said smiling affectionately at Tilda, “and I’ve got a good life.”
“I know that dad but I know you’re lonely.”
Gus paused for a moment and then said, “Well, yeah I admit it sweetie. I’m lonely but people’ve been trying to fix me up for a while and…”
“Just give it a try dad. Tell you what. I was on my way over to Trudy’s and I was going to bring her some of my special valentine shaped cookies. Why don’t you come along.”
“Well, okay,” he said.
They walked the few blocks over to Trudy’s house and up her driveway and there she was with her back to them standing next to the beautiful blue 1932 Ford coupe.
Impressed by the beauty of the old hot rod Gus said, “My goodness!”
Trudy turned around and said, “Hi Tilda and who’s this?”
Tilda said, “Well, it’s my dad.”
Gus and Trudy took one look at each other and eyes were twinkling back and forth.
“Well, I was just going in to have some coffee and now we have something wonderful to go with it. Do you want to come in?” Trudy said to both of them but glancing at him in particular.
“Well yes, I believe I will,” Gus replied glancing at Tilda who nodded cheerfully.
They all walked in to Trudy’s house and got settled with some good hot coffee and Tilda’s extra fancy cookies.
They’d been chatting pleasantly for a few minutes when Tilda grinned and said to Trudy, “Tell him your nickname.”
“Oh honey, for pete’s sakes,” Trudy said laughing. “Go on, you can tell him. There’s a reason you can tell him. Come on, tell him now,” Tilda said somewhat mysteriously.
“All right,” Trudy said looking at Tilda with a bit of an unsaid question showing on her face. “My good friends occasionally call me Wrinkly.”
“Oh my gosh!” Gus said his face getting red as he looked at his daughter.
“No, no, no dad. Wait,” said Tilda reassuringly.
Trudy went on to say, “Some years ago I was visiting my son and his family. We’d all gone to the lake and the children were swimming and splashing around in the water. Jilly, who was only about three years old then came over to me and looked up and said, “Grandma, you’re wrinkly.”
“My son Rory and his wife Jan rushed over to apologize but I was laughing and so was Jilly and we all laughed together. Jan explained after our laugh-fest that the children had recently seen a Shar Pei dog and that Jilly must have picked up a new word for her when the dogs owner described him as wrinkly. And you know, every once in a while one of the kids, especially Jilly, or even Rory or Jan will call me Wrinkly.”
Tilda looked at her dad with a mischievous smile and said, “Your turn.”
Gus smiled at them both and said, “Okay. When I was a teenager I had a summer job working at a deli. It was a very popular place so my task was to wrap the sandwiches up well with tinfoil so they would stay fresh. So all day long I was doing that. Some of the fella’s who worked there started kidding me because of all the sounds the tinfoil made and started calling me Crinkly and the name just stuck. My old friends still call me that.”
The three of them stared at each other and started laughing. Well, one thing led to another and every weekend for the next few months Gus and Trudy would get together and ride around in her old hot rod or go to the movies or just take a nice walk.
One fine spring day Gus said to Trudy, “You know we hit it off pretty good. What do you say if you and I make it a regular thing.”
Trudy said, “Well, you’re going to have to say that the right way.”
And he said, “Yes indeed. Madame Wrinkly, Mr. Crinkly would like you to be my wife.”
Trudy replied, “Mr. Crinkly, Madame Wrinkly would definitely like to do that.”
It just goes to show, never give up, never assume that life in any of its stages is beyond you. You just never know when something wonderful might happen.
On that note, I’d like to wish you all a Happy Valentines Day wherever you are and whatever you’re doing and of course, goodlife to you all.