Saturday, April 24, 2010
It's about ten years ago now that I worked in a property management office with three fun, feisty women, the youngest of whom was in her late fifties and the oldest of whom was in her mid-seventies. I was in my mid-thirties and they called me "The Kid."
Two of The Girls were world travelers. They'd take exotic vacations every year to places like Egypt, India, Africa, and China. One winter they went on an archaeological dig in Arizona. Sometimes just the two of them would go on a trip, sometimes they'd go with a group of intrepid middle-aged women. Either way, they'd have a blast.
The other Girl was the eldest of the group. Going out on the town with her was interesting and a lot of fun. Men would ask me "Who's your friend?" She was a terrific dancer, could chat with anyone, and knew most everyone in town. She was a constant reminder that you can be a fun, vital, happy person at any age.
It was interesting to be an honorary Golden Girl. I learned a lot more about nursing homes and ageing than was probably healthy for me at that time. I got a lot of advice - often more than I wanted but rarely more than I needed. And I learned that life was definitely not over at forty.
I was fortunate to become more than a co-worker, but a friend and daughter to these women. We saw each other through some difficult times. We genuinely enjoyed each other's company, which made a tough job easier.
Toward the end of the time I worked with them, one of the women died of cancer. The remaining three rallied around and kept each other going. We reorganized the office and hired new people. As nice as they were, we could never recapture the magic. In retrospect, I understand that you can't replace a Golden Girl. Our friendship had become more than the sum of its parts.
One particularly cold and rainy day, I commented that I was going to go home, put my pajamas on, and watch The Golden Girls. One of the ladies said, "You're going to leave here and watch The Golden Girls?"
I replied, "I watch it every day from six to seven."
She was surprised. She said, "You don't get enough of that at work?" Clearly, I did not.
The YouTube clip at the top is my favorite moment from The Golden Girls. It was a very funny show, which I can --and do -- quote at length. But this is my very favorite scene. Enjoy.