Monday, July 4, 2022

A Lesson in Dating While Vacationing

Recently, I visited my “Idaho family.” For two weeks, I spent time with Elisa’s four offspring, who now range in age from twelve to twenty, and with Elisa and Mike. 

In addition to family time, I had three unexpected experiences: I got a tattoo. I went on a motorcycle ride. And I had a “date.” Or at least that’s what Elisa told me I had. Today, I’ll share my confusion.


First, the background: I’ve become friends with one of Elisa’s elderly Idaho friends—a philosophical man. (Let’s call him Palmer.) 


When Elisa was in the hospital in November 2020, she asked me to call Palmer and introduce myself. She wanted me to keep him apprised of what was happening with the cancer. He doesn’t have a smart/cell phone nor a computer, so the line-land phone is his way of communicating


That’s how Palmer and I met. Since then, we’ve spoken on the phone every couple of weeks about how Elisa is progressing as well as about books, political happenings, and quotations that have struck us as incisive.  


In April 2021, while visiting Elisa, I finally met him in person.


On this most recent visit, Palmer came to Elisa’s home for a boardgame afternoon with the family. The next day, he called and suggested we have lunch together that coming Thursday. He drove us to a nearby restaurant—and yes, he’d checked beforehand to see if they had any vegetarian entrees on their menu. I enjoyed the food, our conversation, and his candy-apple red sports car.

When we got back to Elisa’s, he opened the car door for me, which I thought was quite nice. Then, as we stood together, he said, “Dee, you’re good with words. What would you call what we just did?”

Puzzled, I thought, “I’d call it ‘getting out of the car.’”


Before I voiced that thought, he said, “I’d call it a date.”


Floored, I found only one response—the one I say to anyone who takes me to a doctor’s appointment or away from home: “Well, it’s time for my nap.” 


He walked me to the front door where Elisa stood—like a vigilant mother. She’d been wanting to drive that Mustang ever since they’d first become friends. So, when he offered to let her do so, she jumped at the chance. The two of them zoomed down the street to the highway. I zoomed to bed.


When they returned, Elisa came inside, and Palmer drove off.


She told me then all the complimentary things he’d said about me. 


“I think he’s a fine person, too. Fair and just. A good friend,” I replied.


Then, I told her about his using the word date. 


“Well, Dee, of course that’s what it was!” she exclaimed, clearly surprised at my confusion.


“No, it was two friends having lunch together.”


“Look . . . he called and asked you out; he took you to a restaurant; he paid for the meal; he drove you home; he came around the car and opened your door and helped you out. That’s a date.”


“It’s two friends having lunch together. That’s all.” 


“Dee, Dee, Dee,” she murmured, looking at me as if I were a butterfly who’d just emerged—innocent of experience—from the chrysalis. 


“I know,” she said, gently pushing me down on a kitchen chair, “that you never dated much either before or after the convent. And I know your last date was maybe fifty years ago [she was right about that]. But what you just did was a date. That’s what a date is!”


So that’s what a date is. Hummmm. You learn something new every day. 




PS: In a future posting, I hope to explain the how and why of the tattoo and the motorcycle ride. I have photographs of both.






  1. Well there you go. Colour me naive but I would have described it as you did. But then it is years since I have been on a date as well.
    Looking forward to hearing more about your motorcycle ride and your tattoo.

  2. Well, whatever you call it, it seems you both had fun! Love those bright red shoes! :-)

  3. Well look at you. So glad you had such a fun visit but really interested in the new man in your life, who is chivalrous with a red Mustang yet. Can't wait to hear about the tattoo and the motorcycle ride. You go girl.

  4. Well, Dee... this was a different post for you. Sounds like you had a really nice time - date or no date. Also waiting to hear about the tattoo and motorcycle ride!

  5. Communicating simply by landline phone sounds delightful.

    "I got a tattoo. I went on a motorcycle ride. And I had a “date.”

    Of all the things I have ever expected to read on your blog, that is not even close. Well, the date is not a surprise. Of course! 😀

    Cool red sports car, too.

  6. I agree with Elisa — it’s a date! But then, date can mean more than one thing. My daughters have girlfriends’ dates all the time as well as dates with their husbands. It sounds like you and Palmer enjoy each other’s company and I hope you have many opportunities to continue a lovely friendship.
    (P.S. I’m really looking forward to that new cat book!)