Senior Scene: A matching pair
May 6, 2017
"You have the most beautiful skin, you really do, Orllyene. It's so soft, and smooth," Shelly commented.
They have just been introduced. When I invited Gordon over for a cup and tea and a chat, I knew nothing of Shelly, and now what a bonanza she's turning out to be. I was on my morning walk when Gordon pulled his motorcycle over and said "good morning," and that's how we met. Gordon has dignity written all over him, and if it weren't for his quick wit, he would do quite nicely as a diplomat. Shelly is vivacious and staggeringly intelligent. Both are spiritually oriented.
"I've always had a church in my life, and right now, I'm going to a church that is allowing me to try my spiritual wings," Shelly said.
Gordon did four years as a Marine, was a reserve fireman, and spent 28 years in law enforcement, finishing as police chief in Yerington. When he was about to retire, he studied and became a medical assistant.
Shelly and Gordon have been married for 14 years and have nine grown children between them. Shelly is saddled with type-two depression.
"Many years ago, my wise-beyond-her-years 10-year-old daughter told me to see a doctor. My then-husband cautioned me 'not to see a counselor, or they'll really know you're crazy.' Truthfully, I didn't know I had depression. I'm a naturally optimistic person. How can an optimistic person have type two depression?" Shelly told us, as if she'd just told the greatest joke of all time. She nods to Gordon. "I just adore this kind and loving man, who treats me like a princess."
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I pour a second round of green tea.
Gordon slips out to their car and returns with a copy of "Stopping the Roller Coaster." Shelly wrote the book. She flips open the cover and autographs it.
"This is going to stay here," she said. Shelly is working on a masters in psychological counseling.
"I want to share what I've learned about depression on a one-on-one basis, not group or vocational rehabilitation," Shelly said, beaming.
In the last 40 minutes, I've learned more about this couple, than I know about some of my own family members. These dear people have worked out a relationship that truly begs scrutiny.
"Do you travel?" I asked, hoping to slow down the pace. Both smiled slyly, and Gordon took the lead.
"Yes, we belong to an organization that arranges house sitting. We spent 10 weeks in Hilo, Hawaii, and tonight we're dog sitting for a dentist in Gardnerville," he said.
"I spent most of my life being uncomfortable in front of people. Who cares if they laugh at me? I found an agent in Reno, got a S.A.G. card and acted in a movie, and have done several commercials," she said.
"Shelly did a commercial in Elko for a funeral home. I got to play a dead person. They put my picture on the mantle by the casket," he said with feigned modesty.
Gordon and Shelly are indomitable. Hindrances are merely stepping stones to them. They're comin' back; this time for dinner.
Ron Walker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.