“My Big Date,” Jan. 21, 2020

Most days, my getting-ready- to-go-out routine takes two minutes tops. And that includes finding my keys.

There was a time in my life when I never went out without ironing an outfit and spending hours on my make-up and hair.

It began in my early teens, when I hoped, at least, to turn a few heads. It ended promptly at the age of 23, after my first child was born, and my only real hope was to survive another day.

These days, I feel like the Invisible Woman. I could stand half-naked on a street corner juggling live chickens and I doubt anybody would notice.

Not that I need to worry about being seen. We live out in the country and rarely get uninvited guests. Except buzzards.

One day, while my husband and I were sitting on the patio, I noticed a squadron of turkey vultures circling overhead.

“Maybe I should go put on some makeup,” I said.

My husband didn’t laugh.

“That was a joke,” I snapped.

He just snickered.

Today was no joking matter. I had a lunch date with someone I definitely wanted to impress. Someone who would study me the way a cat studies a gopher. Someone who’d take notice of all the details of how I looked, what I wore, how I smelled and every last word I said.

I was determined to give it my best shot. So I started with a quick shower and a double dose of hair conditioner. My hair has been long most of my life, but recently I felt like a change and whacked it all off.

(Here’s a little tip: When you feel like making a change, give it a few days before you act.)

The upside of my new haircut is it takes half as long to dry. The downside is it makes me look like my mother in her later years, wearing a football helmet.

Not that she’d ever do that. I’m just saying. It’s how I look. So I worked hard with a curling iron to make my hair look a little less football helmety.

The problem with the curling iron is it has a tendency to get slightly hotter than the hinges on the gates of hell. So it not only curls, it singes, and makes my hair smell like fried chicken.

To offset the chicken smell, I used a half can of hairspray and a bottle, give or take, of cologne. My favorite cologne, not that you should care, is called “Amazing Grace.” I like its scent, but mostly I love its name. I need all the grace I can get.

Next, I chose something to wear. I didn’t need to iron it because I realized long ago, if you don’t like to iron, don’t buy things that need ironing. I generally stick to neutrals, shades of gray and black. But today I chose a royal blue blouse. It wouldn’t turn heads, but my lunch date would like it.

Next, I selected jewelry. I’m usually good to go with just my wedding ring (without which I feel strangely naked.) But today I added silver hoops, a long sparkly necklace and the absolute necessity, a Christmas gift from my lunch date: A silver bangle engraved, “Love you all.”

“All” is as much as anybody can possibly love someone. It’s also how much I love her.

Finally, I did my makeup. I’ve been doing makeup so long I could do it in my sleep. And sometimes it looks like I did. But today I took great care to blend everything just so — foundation, blush, eyeshadow, eyeliner, the works.

Just as I applied a last coat of lipstick, my husband walked by, grinned at me and said, “No buzzards circling you today.”

I’ve had worse compliments.

But the best one came when I picked up my lunch date — my granddaughter, Eleanor Rose, who is turning 5, and was truly resplendent in a pink fairy dress and unicorn headband.

“Nana!” she shouted, tackling me in a choke hold. She checked me out head to toe, then said the magic words: “You look pretty, Nana! And you smell good, too!”

My mother would’ve worn a football helmet to hear that.


  1. Peggy Nodine says

    I always love those granddaughter compliments, they mean more than any others, and quite frankly they are usually more honest and sincere than most other compliments too. Love you sweet lady!! Peggy Nodine

  2. Tricia Starkey says

    I always enjoy your column each Sunday. Your relatable stories make me laugh and sometimes cry. This is my favorite so far! Thank you for the smiles.

  3. Love this. I miss reading your column in our local area newspaper.

  4. You do have a way with words and I mean that in the most delightful way. Thanks for all that you do for all of us who just can’t wait for your next column and the next episode of your life explained in such a warm, wonderful way.

  5. Kate Sciacca says

    Oh my gosh! Thank you! I keep thinking about whacking off my shoulder length (sometimes longer if the the visit to CostCutters gets pushed back on the calendar 😂) hair….. not going to do it!
    And black is great…. but royal blue???? I have several sweaters, tops and short sleeved shirts (and a coat with a certain team’s name emblazoned across the front 😂😂) in Royal Blue 👍🏻👍🏻 Excellent choice 😉

    But makeup? Haven’t had time for that since 1977… and now that I do, well, I cannot see well enough to apply it properly… folks would notice – definitely…”who’s that clown lady in aisle three???”

    Sounds like you had a great date, but there’s no way that baby girl is five…. she was born a couple years ago, I’m sure of it 😉


    The “I’ve had worse comments” had me laughing out loud. Your column always brings a smile to my face. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Georgann Butterfield says

    “I’ve had worse comments”, made me literally laugh out loud…it actually might have been a guffaw! Love your columns. Thanks the the laughter and the tears.

  8. Mary Ann Pavlik says

    Your columns are just so delightful! Thanks so very much for writing. Wish I had a 5 year old granddaughter or one of any age. I do however have grandsons ages 12 and 14 who are often fun to be with but never care how I look🤗🥰

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