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Donna Hale Chandler

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By Donna Hale Chandler
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Recent stories by Donna Hale Chandler
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           >> View all 39

To date or not to date, that was the question. My neighbor felt he had the answer, even if I didn't.


I was sitting home alone AGAIN.  Watching TV alone AGAIN.  It had been a little over a year since my husband passed away.  Was I going to be alone always?  What did I want?  Did I want to find someone?  I sat there mulling over these questions in my mind.  I didn't know what I wanted.  I didn't know what to do about figuring out what I wanted. 
As I sat there so deep in thought, my phone rang.  Caller ID told me that it was the 'older gentleman' who lived in a condo one floor below me, George.  When I answered, he asked if I was busy.
"No," I answered, "What can I do for you George?" As I serve on our condominium Board of Directors, I assumed that he was calling with a question, or more likely, a complaint about something to do with the Condo Association.
"I would like to talk with you for just a couple of minutes if you're not tied up."
"That would be fine.  I'm not busy." thinking that I may as well find out what the problem was right then, rather than put it off.
"Great, I'll be right up."
"What?  What did he say", I asked myself, as I stood there stupidly holding a phone receiver with no one on the other end.  He's coming up?  Up here, to my home? I thought he was going to talk to me over the phone. Oh my, oh my, oh my.
Before I could clear my confused mind, there was a knock on the door.  There stood George, all dressed up in what looked like a new shirt and brand new suspenders.  Telling myself that I was being silly, that George just had 'business' to discuss, I opened the door and invited him in.
George is at least 20 years older than me but he made himself right at home on my living room sofa and started making small talk.  I saw across the room in my favorite chair hoping that he would soon get to the point of his visit.  That he would spit out his complaint and I would tell him that I would check into it the first thing in the morning.  We would say our good-byes and my world would be a familiar place for me again.
But as George continued to talk and tell me about himself, about losing his wife, and about wanting to find a nice female companion, I realized that he, as my mother would have said, had come a-courting.  I was polite and smiled at all the right times, all the while wondering how I was going to get out of this without hurting his feelings. I didn't want to be 'courted'.  I sat there and swore to myself that I would never ever again feel sorry for myself for watching TV alone.  I so very much wanted to be alone right that moment.
Then George said something that caught my 'female attention'.  He was explaining that he had moved from Jensen Beach and that he missed the beach very much.  He went on to tell me that when he lived there he sailed every day.
This turned my thoughts toward a new direction.  Sailing.  I'd never been sailing.  Would that be something I would like to do?  I can't swim (which will be the subject of another story) so would I be afraid?  Hmmmm, maybe I'd like to go out on a sailboat IF George knew what he was doing.
There's only one way to find out, ask, "So George, how long have you been sailing?"
"Oh years, it's something I truly enjoy.  I have two sail boats."
Now the little hamster in my head is really running on that wheel making the thoughts swirl faster and faster.  "Really, do you still have your boats?"
George very proudly said, "Well, of course.  I could never get rid of my sailboats."
"Now that you don't live on the water anymore, where do you keep them?"
George appeared confused by my question and answered, "Oh, they're both downstairs on my back porch.  Would you like to go with me sometime?"
Now the poor hamster on the wheel is confused.  He doesn't know whether to run faster or stop completely. I hardly even realized that he'd asked me to go sailing with him. "On your back porch?"  I was trying to wrap my head around this new fact.  I don't know much about sailboats, so I was asking myself, Do they fold up?  No, that didn't seem right.  How big is a sailboat?  I truly had no clue but I knew how big George's porch was and I couldn't imagine that it was big enough for TWO sailboats.  Besides, his porch is only screened in, I would have seen sailboats, wouldn't I?
Finally I decided that the most intelligent question would be to ask him how big his sailboats were.  And honestly I don't remember his answer exactly, EXCEPT the sailboats he had been telling me about were REMOTE CONTROL BOATS.
I tried to act as if I had known that all along.  I didn't want him to know that I thought he was talking about REAL sailboats.  Just about the time I was feeling relieved that I had dodged a bullet by not jumping at the chance to go 'sailing' with George, he asked another surprise question.
"Well, I haven't had dinner yet," George was finally getting around to the purpose of his visit, unbeknownst to me. "Would you like to go to Dale's Bar-B-Q with me tonight?"
This was my very first Date Question, if you can call it that, and was such a huge shock to me, that I leaped from my chair and flew into the kitchen.  It was evidently some sort of reflex action because once in the kitchen, I still didn't know what to do. I hardly even knew how I had gotten there. But I knew I needed A Plan.  So, I opened and closed the oven door, LOUDLY, walked as calmly as I could back to the living room and said, "That's awfully nice of you to ask George, but I have dinner in the over for my mother and I.  I was just checking it and it's almost ready."  I blundered on by saying something about taking it to her and I'd better call her to see if she was ready and  ..... what else I said is a bit of a blur.  I can remember thinking that I needed to shut up and stop rambling but just couldn't seem to get control of my mouth.
I'm sure George probably knew that I was lying through my teeth but I had no idea how to handle the situation and decided that being alone beat sailing any old day.  And that IF I was going to 'date' at some point, I'd need to handle it a LOT better than I had on this night.
(My dating disasters continued.  I evidently need quite a large 'learning curve.')
                 © copyright Donna Hale Chandler

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Reviewed by Bob McNesby 2/29/2012
I love surprise endings and that one really did it for me. I couldn't imagine where you were going with that story and was still baffled after the old guy revealed what the sailboats were. I thought the very end would include a couple of men in white coats looking for their escapee from the "nervous house."
Reviewed by Victoria's Poetry & Voices of Muse 11/6/2010
awww I feel bad for him for some reason.
I dated a man 20-22 years my senior before.
I was madly in love with him too.
Remote vehicles are actually quite fun.
They have a race track in my town especially
for remote dune racing cars/trucks. The remote sailors
sail their remotes over the lake.

I do think he should have clarified the sailing though.
It could have been a fun time (not knockin out Richard)
Just it all would have been a fun time socializing, even
going to the BBQ as friends.

I bet he knew too that you were letting him down politely.
Because cooking dinner makes the house smell really good.

Sailing Without Remotes

Reviewed by Richard King 10/28/2010
Nice story. Just the right amount of humor and wonderfully told. Iím so glad you didnít jump at the very first opportunity to present its self. His loss was my gain. Thank you very much!!!!!! Dick
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 10/27/2010
Great story, Donna; well done!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Texas, Karen Lynn. ;D

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