Lauriate Roly: A Back-Handed Compliment?

Posted on July 27, 2015


By Lauriate Roly


My wonderful daughter Madeline does so many things for me.

She and her wonderful husband Larry have lived with Frances and me since they were joined in happy matrimony, when they decided to come and live with us in our oversized house.

They’ve always been so supportive in so many ways.  If there was anything that Frances and I needed help with to take care of ourselves, they were always right there ready to give us the extra help and support we might have needed.

I live alone in another big house now, but my daughter and son-in-law are still with me.  I say that I am alone simply because they both have jobs that they work at every day, though they always return at the end of each workday.

Since things changed for me, so dramatically,  just a little over a year ago, they are even doubly attentive to my needs.  They cook my meals.  They  deliver them up many stairs to my separate quarters.  They take care of repairs and maintenance of anything that needs fixing.  Maddy does all my laundry: always done so beautifully, aromatically wreathed in “la pleine air fraîche“,  ironed and folded so neatly (she even puts the stuff back in the drawers where each item belongs so it is ready for me to use again).

When I get into a computer jam, Maddy is usually the one who clears up the problem.  In this way, she often sees the emails I receive.  She doesn’t look for them, but she can’t help but see them, because they are there, as part of the computer problem she will eventually clear up for me.

Just a few days ago she noticed all the internet messages I was receiving from so many of the people I have known for so many years.  She saw that many notes or letters are mostly from ladies I have worked with and known as business associates for many years,  and even though I am retired for quite some time, we still keep in touch.  Most of these lovely friends live in Europe;  in Switzerland, France, Belgium, Italy and the U.K.   Some are from the United States.  (None from Canada, though several of those who graduated to live in Europe are originally from Canada where we knew each other and worked together).


Maddy read a few of the messages, especially the ones from the people she actually knew from having met them through the years when sometimes they visited me, here in Canada.

She remarked that there seemed to be so many messages.  Far more than the usual number over the years.  I had to agree with her.  I said that I too was surprised at the sizeable increase in the number that I have been receiving lately, but I said that I didn’t mind;  that it was great therapy for me, keeping my mind active in responding to their nice letters and it helped me keep my mind off other things I preferred not to think about so much.

I remarked to her: strange that not many of the guys I worked with bother to write me.  Most of my mail comes from lady friends.

“Not so strange, Daddy:  they know now that you’re in a different category.  You’re single. . . unattached…  and available”.

Wow !

Well, of course I found this quite comical and kind of a sweet little retort to my comment about the writers all being women. But, I could see by the way she looked at me that she wasn’t joking.

She brought to my mind something I never once realized after Frances left us:  that now, I am  not married  –

I’m single.

You could have knocked me over with a feather.

Never for a moment could I ever have imagined that a time would come again, after more than sixty-five years of happy marriage, where I could consider myself as being a bachelor, unattached, and . . . available.

Could these lovely special friends be interested in me?  Or is Maddy just trying to spruce up my spirits to make me feel good? I just had to ask the question.

“You don’t mean to say they would be interested in me in that way??? …do you?”


“Well, you’ve read their letters, Daddy.  They figure you’re their last chance.  Their last kick at the can. Couldn’t you figure that out for yourself?”

…  Can she be serious?  …   Really? … Oh great! Such a compliment??

I couldn’t believe it.

How interesting?  How charming?  Me, an eligible bachelor?


Now, I’m wondering . . .

… but that too helps me keep my mind off other things I prefer not to think about so much.

(What’s that??   Pardon?  – did I hear someone say something about Methuselah)?




"Aurora and Tithonus" by Gregorio Lazzarini

“Aurora and Tithonus” by Gregorio Lazzarini