Big Timber, Mont.
Hank and Hortensia are both in their senior citizen, golden years, over-the-hill-and-sliding-fast age group. They’ve been ranchers, but they’ve passed the baton on to their children. Hank is pretty crippled up and must walk with a cane.
Hortensia, helped by old-age spectacles, can still do various needlework projects. She especially likes to embroider on tea towels and pillow slips. Over the years, she’s given stacks of these items to new brides and to friends celebrating anniversaries or birthdays.
She has a fulfilling hobby.
Hank found himself with nothing to do in his dotage years so he joined the Senior Thespians, a group headquartering at the senior center in town.
Hank always considered himself a wit. He devised a stand-up routine about the vicissitudes of old age and coaxed Hortensia to partner with him. Next Friday H & H will do their act at the Hiss & Boo Grand Ol’ Opry Variety Show.
Emcee: Ladies and Gentlemen, put your hands together for that famous comedy duo — Hank & Hortensia!
Hortensia: Says here (pretending to read a newspaper) that regular naps prevent old age.
Hank: Sounds about right, especially if you take a nap while driving.
Hortensia: Ya know Hank, I’ve learned that life is like a roll of toilet paper.
Hank: Yeah? How’s that?
Hortensia: The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.
Hank: Ya got that right, Hortie. (Hortie is Hank’s shortened version of Hortensia.)
Hortensia: How come we don’t go out anymore? Gosh, Hank, my back goes out more than we do.
Hank: Sorry about that, Hortie. I don’t bring you flowers anymore either.
Hortensia: No you don’t. Why not?
Hank: Cuz at my age, flowers scare me.
Hortensia: Old age is kinda sad … I mean, I’ve had to dye my hair for the last 40 years.
Hank: I read there’s only one cure for gray hair. Was invented by a French feller. It’s called the guillotine.
Hortensia: (sighing) You know you’re getting old when your birthday candles cost more than the cake.
Hank: (also sighing) When I was a boy, the Dead Sea was only sick.
Hortensia: Well after all, Hank, maybe it’s a good thing we’re getting old and a little dotty.
Hank: Now whyever’d you say somethin’ like that?
Hortensia: Well, you know sooner or later we’d be put in a home for the bewildered. How much fun could it be if you’re stuck in a geriatric ward just so you can live a few extra years!
Hank: I miss middle age. Back then, I believed I’d feel better in the morning.
Hortensia: My Granny lived to almost 100 and she was tough. She buried three husbands and two of them were just napping.
Hank: Oh, yeah? Well, I’m so old they’ve extended my subscription to AARP indefinitely.
There was more to H & H’s comedy routine. They admit they culled much of the material off the internet. But as Hortensia says, “So what. I’m old. I gotta right. And I intend to keep dyeing my hair. I wanna look good in the casket.”
H & H’s act brought the house down. One old-timer in the audience laughed so hard, he almost had a stroke.
Hank is talking about taking the show “on the road” going from one senior center to another.
Hortensia is all for it. So far she’s sold eight T-shirts with the words Hiss and Boo Grand Ol’ Opry embroidered across the front. She’s had to restock her supply of embroidery floss. ❖