Harry Goldman and Walter Young carefully carried their big mugs of dark roasted coffee to Charlie Swanson’s corner table, already covered with sections of the daily newspapers. Charlie hastily pushed the newspapers into a wobbly pile to make room for his coffee-mates.
“Well, you two are early today,” he greeted them with a smile.
“I just came from a visit to my doctor and decided I needed a large cup of caffeine,” declared Henry.
“Uh-oh,” Charlie commiserated. “Was this the visit where you found out you had to stop eating whatever it was you enjoyed and eat more of whatever it was you detested?”
“Not quite, Charlie, but very close,” Henry sighed.
“I noticed you only got coffee this morning and skipped your Apple Danish,” Walter added sympathetically.
“Is that why you refrained from getting your Almond Croissant?” Henry smiled. At that moment, Muriel Long and Charlotte Pickles plonked their cups of cappuccino along with a side plate containing two dark chocolate fudge brownies beside Henry. The ladies each pulled up a chair from an empty adjacent table and made themselves comfortable.
“Would anyone like a piece of our fudge brownies?” Muriel offered. Henry reluctantly shook his head. Walter sipped his coffee and eyed the brownies, then slowly shook his head as well.
“Charlotte and I just finished our energetic class of Golden Zumba at the rec centre. Our instructor is someone my granddaughter’s age and very good at getting all the senior ladies revved up and moving!”
“That’s why Muriel and I are building up our sugar reserve since we danced it all off in the class!” Charlotte laughed as she took a bite of her brownie. “More for us to enjoy since all of you refused our generous offer.
“Henry was telling us about his doctor’s appointment this morning,” Charlie explained.
“Oh no,” the ladies chorused in sympathy. “Is this where you get that dreaded news that you have to stop eating. . .” Muriel began, but was interrupted by Henry’s huge sigh.
“I always thought that ‘retirement’ was our Golden Years, you know, like those cheezy commercials we use to see when we were still working,” Walter commented.
“I know what you mean Walter,” Charlotte agreed. “I bet far too many retirees end up with health problems that takes care of the rosy picture of a carefree retirement life.”
“So, my friend, what joys do you have to cut to prolong your life?” Walter bluntly asked. Before Henry could spew forth the list, Muriel interrupted.
“Is this a low salt/no-salt diet? Or is it no red meat and no breads and no. . . .”
“Oh my god,” Charlotte exclaimed, “what’s left to eat that’s palatable?”
“Not much” Henry said glumly.
“Now, it’s not that bad,” Charlie pointed out. “The best thing to happen would be you’d lose a few pounds which is always good for the heart. A visit to a reputable dietician would set you on the right path with the kind of herbs and seasoning you can use that’s not salt and other sources of protein that doesn’t have to be red meat. But you have to remember one thing. Cutting back on certain foods doesn’t mean never eating them again. It just means you eat it occasionally like once a week instead of every day. You’ll probably notice a drop in your grocery bill as well as a boost in energy but you’ll be too busy to worry about snacks and bad eating habits.”
“Even I can live with that,” Muriel murmured. Charlotte and Walter both nodded their heads in agreement. Henry thought about Charlie’s wise words and voiced his opinion. “It’s the thought of giving up so much of what I enjoy, but small amounts rather than an excess is a good start. I like the idea of consulting with a dietician as that would steer me along the right food paths.”
“Nikki can walk you three times a day,” Walter grinned mischievously–Nikki being the Goldman’s energetic cockapoo.
“Oh my, Henry–you’ll be a healthier, thinner person in a few months,” Muriel encouraged cheerfully.
“I read this article in the Huffington Post about all these people who switched to a healthier lifestyle and after six months were able to reduce the amount of meds they had to take daily. That alone would be a great incentive to live healthier,” Charlotte reported to her coffee-mates.
“Well, we’re all here to cheer you on, Henry.” All his coffee friends lifted their cups in a toasting motion, sipped the last drops of their coffee and made moves to gather their things to leave. Charlie packed up the sections of his newspapers he wanted to keep and bundled them into his shopping bag. He paused and spoke, “Retirement is still fun but who said it would be easy? Life moves along its own mysterious path with its usual bumps and pitfalls. I suspect it’s to ensure a person enjoys what he/she has and not get too complacent about it.”
Giving them a jaunty wave, he gave his usual parting, “Enjoy your day, my friends,” then added impishly, “remember to ease up on the red meat, the salt, the pastries and all the other good stuff. . . . .”
” Good coffee is a pleasure. Good friends are a treasure.”—-Anonymous