Ray rang the doorbell. He had agreed to help produce Roadrunner Extra!, the monthly newsletter at The Beatitudes that was written by residents. He was calling on Mary Louise, the editor, for their first planning meeting. Since there was no office available, they were meeting in her room.
She: Welcome to the Roadrunner Extra! office. Just put your stuff on the bed; we’ll work here at the table.
He: Nice view. Nice pictures, too. The one of you and the kids at the campfire is great. Dramatic shot of the eagle!
She: That’s a turkey vulture. My husband Shelly took those pictures. That was his profession.
They’ve cut us back to four pages for the Extra! Look at all this material; it’s going to be hard to decide what not to print.
(Two Weeks Later)
He: Well, it’s a wrap for July. That worked out to be four pages in four sessions. Not very efficient, but enjoyable. I did particularly like the Italian dinner at my place.
She: With poached Anjou pears, flambé’. Romantic.
He: Almost as nice as Elaine’s dining room.
He: (on the phone) What’s going into the August issue?
She: (on the phone) Only four pages again — and we’ve got all of this material. I worked on it last night. I’m a night owl, you know. We’ll use Les again, Mary’s Irish History and Virginia’s Barbary pirates article. And the Strubel’s “Time Came Upon Us and Hit Us Hard.” Touching; she’s been moved to health care; Charlie is still here in assisted living.
He: (on the phone) I work days myself. I’ll set it up on the computer and you can come here to look at it; I’m only a building away. I’ll come to pick you up.
She: (on phone) You work days; I work nights; we’re incompatible. Otherwise, “I love you.”
He: (on the phone) Huh? What did you say? You know I don’t hear well; would you repeat that?
She: (on the phone) I am very direct; I don’t hide my feelings. I said, “I love you.”
He: (on the phone) You knocked me off my chair. Give me time to think about that. I’ll come see you tomorrow.
He: We’re going big time! Eight pages! This will require a lot of business sessions.
She: We’ll use my story of the early years of my career and my family. How tough it was to be a young woman trying to break into the New York writers’ clique. And our first book, “Birds of Prey of the World,” and the natural births of my two children — entirely photographed by Shelly (a first for Presbyterian Hospital).
He: I’ve told you how much I like the pictures on your wall of you when you were a young woman and when you were a young mother. We’ll use them — and the great picture of the turkey buzzard. And Shelly, of course. I’ll be a beautiful article.
She: It’s a turkey vulture.
He: We have buzzards in Kansas where I grew up.
She: And we’ll do Betty Stone’s cute article about visiting Rainbow Bridge. I have to lie down and raise my leg; Doctor’s orders. You can lie down on that side, there’s no other place here.
He: Where’s the bundling board?
She: It’s there. It’s imaginary.
He: Twelve pages this time! That will take a few extra business sessions for sure. Speaking of sessions, does it seem to you that we may be having more business sessions than necessary?
She: Not at all. Remember, we’re working on our incompatibility.
He: I’ve never worked any place with so many interruptions: There’s the pill lady, fresh water lady, cleaning lady, “trash” man, “What time do you want your bath?” lady.
She: I forgot to tell you. They’re my chaperones.
He: Twelve pages again. What do you have this time?
She: We’ll do Les’s story about meeting Russell Means under the Tempe Bridge, Virginia’s Bunker Boys story finally and Foxy Bob’s poem, “My Heart Ain’t a-Bustin’ Over You.”
He: I like the first line of Bob’s poem; I can empathize with him: “Hear the voice of one made miserable by love's smack in the kisser!” Don’t you feel like that occasionally?
He: It’s your baby’s first anniversary. Roadrunner Extra! is one year old. How’re you going to take note of that?
She: I’ll write a short history; most people don’t know how we started. It is also the Christmas issue — as well as EID, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. We’ve got plenty of material. Do we have any love stories? I like love stories.
He: Well there’s Lou’s story, “Five Dollar Christmas”— how their marriage survived a busted bank account. Ken’s bio calls his and Betty’s wartime wedding, “Christmas in July.” My story tells of meeting a family in Belgium sticking together despite the war. But no, we don’t have any really pulpy love stories.
She: I’ve been thinking; we should have a Valentine theme in our February issue — Senior Love. To show what we mean, we’ll write our love story.
He: OH! OH!