By Ken Billett
“Where are the multivitamins?”
“In the big white bottle.”
“They’re all big white bottles.”
“So, find the label that says Multivitamin.”
“Here it is. Says Adults 50+ on the label. Do we buy new multivitamins when we hit sixty?”
“I guess you’ll find out, first.”
“Funny…I’m only two months older than you.”
“Exactly. You’re older than me.”
Thus, a Sunday morning ritual begins. Our pill organizers laid out in front of us. Vicki’s is a pale purple, mine’s mostly clear plastic with unusually colored pastel-green lids. Each compartment top popped open, eagerly awaiting its daily allotment. Filling the organizers always begins on Sunday because, well, the containers are labeled from Sunday to Saturday. Of course, we could replenish the compartments on Saturday night, but that would mean staying up past 9 pm.
Nowadays, that happens once in a blue moon.
When did I become middle aged? When did I become eligible for AARP?
Many years ago, Sunday mornings were filled with the craziness of preparing for church and Sunday school. Does everyone have their Bible? Did you brush your teeth? Seriously, you combed your hair? Socks, everyone must have socks—and shoes.
Maybe we’d eat lunch out afterwards and, sometimes, play a late afternoon soccer match. During the school year, Sunday mornings weren’t much different than Mondays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays.
“Do you have the turmeric?”
“White bottle, red top.”
“Half the bottles on the table have red tops.”
“Right…Says here that turmeric may help maintain a healthy heart and supports joint function and mobility. Why do we take this, again?”
“Nurse practitioner said it fights inflammation and it’s easier on your stomach than ibuprofen.”
“Okay…I’m going for more coffee. You good?”
“Wonderful, except Walmart sent me the wrong dosage of calcium citrate—500 mgs instead of 1000. Now, I’ve got to double-up on these, but there’s not enough room. They won’t all fit.”
“Sounds like a dilemma.”
“Sounds like I won’t be ordering these online from Walmart anymore.”
Years later, Sunday mornings became my alone time and the Lucius Burch Natural Area my sanctuary. Vicki would either sleep in or walk the dog. I’d ride my mountain bike along Humphreys Boulevard to the Wolf River Greenway trailhead, and then zoom over the Million Dollar bridge and down into that bottomland hardwood forest.
I loved the peace and tranquility I found riding those dirt trails. Quiet. Beautiful. Relaxing. We were empty-nesters for a time. Both of our children in college. On a Sunday we had to be nowhere. No agenda. Sundays were ours. A liberating time—for a couple of middle-aged homebodies.
“Don’t forget your baby aspirin.”
“It’s low-dose aspirin. Says so on the label.”
“Then why does everyone call it a baby aspirin?”
“Our internist, your cardiologist, the nurses at the West Center.”
“What time are we Skyping this afternoon?”
“We don’t Skype anymore, remember? Now, we use Duo.”
“Right…Google Duo, or whatever it’s called. What time?”
“Probably two, but we haven’t set a definite time. I’ll text him later this morning. You know he’s not up yet.”
In my mid-twenties, Sunday mornings were spent in bed—sometimes nursing a hangover, sometimes simply recharging from a busy week of travel. Most Sunday afternoons included the weekly call with my parents. Back then, you had either a long-distance phone plan or a calling card. Weekly calls never lasted more than an hour—too expensive. The conversations typically touched on the high points—and, occasionally, low points—of family, friends, and career. Nothing too detailed.
Back in the day, you wrote letters to communicate any details. The details were not instantly available to everyone in the world.
When did I become eligible for AARP?
“Where’s the potassium?”
“Probably still in the cabinet next to the cod liver oil supplements.”
“Ah, here we go…they’re Wild Norwegian cod liver oil supplements.”
“These pills are huge. How many do you take?”
“Have you done your prescription meds, yet?”
“Not yet, I’m still looking for the potassium.”
“It’s here on the table, behind the turmeric.”
“I thought you said it was in the cabinet?”
“Am I in charge of your pills?”
“Sometimes it feels that way.”
“Whatever, hand me the multivitamins.”
“You know, we’re old…old people talk about pills and supplements.”
“But you’re still older than me!”
“Cute. What time are we Skyping today?”
Ken Billett has called Memphis home for more than thirty years. A freelance writer, fiction author, and nationally known advocate for skin cancer prevention and research, Ken volunteers his time at the Blues Hall of Fame on South Main in downtown Memphis. When not tending to his flowers, Ken and his wife Vicki travel extensively.