Senior Scene: An elegant evening |

Senior Scene: An elegant evening

Ron Walker

The dining room is an elegant display of Karen’s impeccable taste. Imagine a long, long table, five chairs on either side, Jack and Karen at either end. The occasion is a visit from her sister, Marilyn, and her husband, Ron, from Wisconsin.

Marilyn bubbles with merriment and Ron is soft-spoken, a very cultured gentleman. He tells me their daughter is retiring from the Navy after 28 years, much of the time overseas. What a wonderful life she must have had serving her country.

During appetizers, Jack passes among us asking how we would like our steak barbecued. At dinner we have salad, twice baked potatoes, deviled eggs, shrimp, steak and for dessert, home baked lemon or chocolate cake slathered with blackberry sorbet (blackberries are from Karen’s garden).

As dinner progresses, the conversation flows effortlessly like a mighty river. Marta, a lovely young woman, introduces Steve. This could be their first social outing together. Steve’s enthusiasm is like a Sierra stream, gushing spontaneously. He has so much get up and go he’ll never run out. To celebrate Marta’s birthday, he cooked dinner for her. “A man who cooks; how wonderful,” Marta says, in amazement.

I join the conversation and ramble on and on about show business, then switch to a more personal topic. Orllyene’s and my grandmother sat together in the same pew at a small Nazarene church in Hollywood every Sunday. We didn’t find out that they were friends and knew each other until after we were married.

Sitting next to me is Nancy Oxsen. Nancy finds only “good” in life and loves to share it. It also happens to be her birthday, and of course we celebrate in song. Pete is her husband. He and Jack share house construction woes.

“I used to build a house in three or four months. Now it takes eight or nine months because of all the inspections and permits,” Pete says.

The talk shifts to how many siblings everyone has. Karen is from a family of 12, Jack from a family of 10 and Mary had nine siblings. A tangent takes us to the question of how we met our spouses. When it’s Karen and Jack’s turn, it gets sketchy. Karen says with a smile, “I kept noticing how Jack just kept coming into the office and standing and looking around.” Well, Jack’s technique worked just fine. Today they work together perfectly and accomplish more than anyone I know.

Mary tells us she was married for 46 years, before he passed on. “He was a twin, the good one,” she says smiling in triumph. Mary has lived in Smith Valley for 52 years.

Kay Flaxa lives by herself, and raves about Steve. She says he’s her “fix it” guy next door.

Strangers no more, we visit for three hours and open our hearts. We’ve become a social family and the dinner was outstanding. Again, Karen and Jack have hit the mark.

Ron Walker can be reached at