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Reflections April 2017

Just Sayin’

Beauty in the Bunko Babes

By Lynn Gendusa

This group consisted of ladies who are mostly retired, between the ages of 60 and 80, but still have a sparkle in their eyes and a gleam in their hearts. They live comfortably, they have worked hard, and they have experienced a myriad of tragedies and joys. They are the culmination of life.

The game of Bunko often conjures up women with purple hair, rolling dice, and then straining to see what the little dots add up to.

Bunko is a mindless game of luck. However mostly, it is used as an excuse for a group to get together, laugh, and gab. It has been nine years since I first became a bona fide dice thrower. Back then our Bunko was run by Iron Fisted Ellen: the keeper of the key, the rules, and the boss that kept the group from falling into chaos.

Courageous Ellen passed away from cancer several years back.

When our group of Bunko girls can’t remember the rules, we all can see Ellen, arms folded, looking at the Lord saying, “They are just not right, sir. I tried.”

“I know, Ellen, I know…” as he strolls away shaking his head.

The last time we gathered we were minus one player. Most wanted to not play the game at all. They sat in our host’s sitting area having several conversations going all at once. I settled on the floor as Darlene asked the group, “Well, are we going to play or are we going to talk? It doesn’t matter to me.”

“I have an idea!” my mouth spoke before the brain had fully developed the thought.

“Why don’t we go around the group and find out what each person would like to accomplish within a year. What is it that you would like to finish or would like to try that you have put off?”

This group consisted of ladies who are mostly retired, between the ages of 60 and 80, but still have a sparkle in their eyes and a gleam in their hearts. They live comfortably, they have worked hard, and they have experienced a myriad of tragedies and joys. They are the culmination of life.

As my idea caught on, I realized we might have some funny, thoughtful, even provocative answers, so I grabbed a note pad.

Arlene was first. She should have been a comedian. Philadelphia born and raised and always evoking fun.  “I have always wanted to work with children who are sick, or abused, or just need love.”

Within a few moments, she had names of agencies to contact and people to call that could help her achieve that long-awaited goal.

Martha sat to the left of Arlene. “I am older, not as fit as I used to be, but I do all I can. I will continue to stay active so that I can continue my work with the Assistance League of Atlanta.”

Connie then started to speak. Her daughter has been fighting life threatening cancer for quite a while. I understand that when insurmountable pain accompanies you daily, one views life with different glasses.  Her response, “I want to continue to help those that I love. They all know I need hearing aids. I am finally going to get them!”

Connie took a simple problem in her complex world to change her life as well as others. She realized vanity has no room next to love.

Darlene, our host, then spoke. “I am going to continue to be dedicated to caring for my husband whom I love.” Darlene has been caring for Wyn for a while. She does so with a grace, bravado, and style that never evokes pity, but rather admiration.

Deborah is my non-blood sister. I think I know most things about her, but then she can surprise me. “I want to reconnect with old friends.” Deborah has about 1000 active friends now, so she must be going for a Guinness record.    She continued, “I want to keep volunteering at the nursing home, working with disabled adults, and get re-involved in a bible study group.”

Deborah will not have to stand in line at the Pearly gates because Heaven has mailed her a key.

Ricki chooses a new word every year to live by. “This year my word is transformation. Transform my health as well as my spirit so that I can continue to help my 12 grandchildren.” Ricki doesn’t know it, but I can guarantee, there are at least 12 lives that are transforming into very special people because of this good woman.

Virgie, new to the Babes this year has her own word, patience. Toward the end of her teaching career she noticed her patience was dwindling. She knew it was time to retire. Now she wants to renew the patience she once had and apply it to all aspects of her life. A teacher never stops learning.

Barbara trains service dogs for others. She and her own dog, Zoey, go to Children’s Hospital weekly so that Zoey can comfort the most vulnerable among us. Barbara really needed to add nothing to her tomorrow, except to continue the great work she is doing today.

Judy is a cancer survivor, a grandmother that looks like a model. Her retirement days are just around the corner. She, too, wants to work with children. She also wants to spend more time with her own children, grandchildren, and daughter-in-law. Her life has not been easy, but I have never heard her complain, and now all she wants to do is not sit down, but to simply love.

Another Judy sits beside her. A fireball, fun loving, happy woman. Not yet retired. “My goals are not lofty or heroic, but I want to smile at folks more. The strangers that are in line with me at the grocery or to anyone I pass. I want to share kindness.”

Then it was my turn.

I want to write about the folks who call themselves seniors who are constantly willing to find avenues to grow, to help, to love, to give, to better themselves.

We are more than purple hairs. We are blondes, brunettes, redheads, fit, capable, and still laughing. Yet beneath the laughter is a richness that has been attained only through the art of living.

“Ellen, what do you think about those girls now?” the Lord asked as he tapped her crossed arms.

“Impressive!” she said as she relaxed her fist. “However, sir, they still need to learn those rules!”

I could swear I heard laughter in the air above me.


Lynn Walker Gendusa is a retired interior designer living in Atlanta, Georgia. She can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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