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Starting Over at 55 (A Buzby Beach Novel) Chapter 14


DW is 55 Plus & married for 30 years. He once nearly lost his wife in a horseback riding accident. He wondered if he could start over if...


House Closing On Schedule

When Jack got home, he knew he wouldn’t be getting to bed anytime soon, not with all the sweet tea he’d had at supper. Instead, he went into the bedroom he’d converted to a computer room and turned on the Hot Spot feature on his phone. Jack’s laptop found his phone’s WiFi connection without any problem, and much more quickly than he expected, Jack was checking his e-mail.

Most of what was in his inbox he deleted since it was junk mail and advertisements. Meagan had forwarded him some jokes and one astute political cartoon she thought her dad would appreciate.

The only item of real consequence was from Frieda, his realtor. She reminded him that she’d be handling the closing on the Goldsboro house the next day and under the limited Power-of-Attorney he’d granted her; she’d act as his agent and take care of everything for him. Frieda would even drop the check off at the bank for deposit to his account after the closing. Jack sent Frieda a brief reply and thanked her, letting her know he’d gotten the message.

Word From Wanda

Wanda's Candid Yearbook Photo

Wanda's Candid Yearbook Photo

The check would be for a sizable amount as he’d paid off the balance of the mortgage - which hadn’t been all that much as there’d only been a few years left on it when Cheryl died - with part of Cheryl’s life insurance settlement.

Jack had hoped there might be something from his attorney, who was also a friend and fellow parishioner, about the status of the lawsuit against the company tied to the truck that hit Cheryl but there was nothing. Jack had been satisfied that the trucking company itself had paid what he asked without contest. It was his attorney’s idea to go after the company that owned the truck's cargo. Jack agreed on the condition that his attorney pressed the case on his own dime and would only get paid if he won. Sure that he'd win, his attorney agreed.

Checking Facebook followed checking e-mail. He wasn’t surprised to see a message from Wanda.

Hi, Jack. Just thought I’d check in and see if you’re online yet. Hope you’re doing okay. Love, W

Jack stared at the message for a few moments, concentrating on the “Love, W.” Try as he might, he couldn’t recall Wanda ever having tagged any of her messages to him that way. The time stamp showed the message had been sent hours earlier while he was fishing. Jack glanced over at the Friends column to the right of the screen to see if Wanda was still online. There was no green light next to her name.

“I’d better write her back anyway,” Jack said to his computer screen. “If she gets up tomorrow and checks she’ll get bent out of shape if I don’t.”

Hey Dub-Dub. Just got online, finally, a few minutes ago. No phone, cable, or Internet here at the house yet except for my cell phone Hot Spot. Guess I’m doing okay. After lunch with folks, went fishing. Gonna look into getting cable or satellite at the house tomorrow. Have a good week. Jack

Jack looked his message over before hitting send. Looking back at her message, he debated if just putting his name was enough. Tagging it “Love, Jack” didn’t seem right to him, so he left it just “Jack.”

He also felt a little funny not mentioning his pseudo-date with Corie. Why he thought telling Wanda about Corie would be a bad idea he wasn’t sure, but Jack knew it wasn’t a good idea, so he decided to keep mum about it. Deciding the note was enough, Jack clicked on “Send.”

What's Wanda Not Saying

Jack Hears From Meagan

The next message was from Meagan.

Dad, u online yet? Let me know when ur up and running. Luv U, Meg

Jack smiled and, after noting the green dot next to Meagan’s name on the friends list, typed his response.

You’re up late. Don’t you have work tomorrow?

Meagan’s reply came quickly.

Just about to shut down when I saw the green dot light up next to your name. Was typing you another message when your’s popped up. You doing okay?

Jack’s fingers lingered over the keyboard as he tried to decide if he should tell Meagan about his sort-of-a-date with Corie that ended with him walking her home. After a moments thought, he chose not to.

I’m doing well as can be expected, I guess. Went to Mass with g-ma and g-pa then to their house for lunch. Fried chicken. You missed out. Bought a new fishing pole on the way back here and went fishing on the pier. I made a new friend.

It took Meagan a moment to answer. When she did, Jack laughed out loud.

Is she hot?

For a moment Jack reconsidered telling Meagan about Corie, but at the last second he chickened out.

He is a retired octogenarian named Earl. We met on the pier. He was fishing next to me. I gave him a spot I caught, and we got to talking. Fascinating fellow.

Jack pictured Meagan’s mouth twisted into the frown she always affected when she thought he wasn’t telling her everything.

Sure, Dad, Earl. I’ve got to get going. Early meeting and I’m supposed to bring the bagels. Glad you’re doing okay. Love you.

Jack sent back, Love you, too, Baby Girl. G’nite.

Jack's New Friend Earl

Jack's New Friend Earl

Friend Requests and A Coffee Invite

After closing the message box, Jack noticed a “2” superimposed on the friend request icon on the upper left of his Facebook page. He clicked the icon to see who’d requested to be his friend. One of the requests wasn’t a surprise. Jack was glad to see it. The other one caught him off guard.

Seeing a friend request from Corie pleased Jack. He’d been thinking of searching for her and sending her one. Seeing a friend request from Georgia Carstairs was unexpected. They’d hardly gotten to know one another at Saint Mark’s and though Georgia said she’d like to get together for coffee or something sometime, Jack hadn’t thought she seemed that interested.

“Obviously she was interested enough to see if I was on Facebook,” Jack told the computer.

He moved his cursor and clicked “Accept Friend Request” next to Georgia’s name. Then he did the same for Corie’s request. He was trying to decide if sending Corie a message would be too pushy when a message from Georgia popped up on his screen.

Hello, Jack. Thanks for accepting my friend request. Hope you don’t mind me sending this message. It’s just that I was going to be in Buzby Beach tomorrow morning visiting a client and thought since I was going to be on the island, that we might have that cup of coffee. The Parisian Bean has excellent fresh roasted coffee. Let me know. Georgia C.

“Speaking of being a little pushy,” Jack said to the message on his screen. “Then again, it makes a certain amount of sense since she’s going to be out here anyway, and we did say we’d try to meet sometime this week.”

That sounds good. What time do you want to meet?

It took Georgia so long to reply that Jack started to think she wasn’t going to.

My meeting is at 10. Would you be able to meet me at the coffee shop at 9?

“She’s giving herself a reason to have to get up and leave if things bog down or get awkward,” Jack said appreciatively. “That’s probably a good idea.”

9 a.m. at the Parisian Bean. I’ll see you then.

Georgia replied with a smiley face and then the green light next to her picture and name, which had appeared on the list of Friends on the right side of the screen, went out. Jack noticed that Corie’s image and name had also appeared, but there was no green dot next to it.

Jack spent a few minutes scrolling through the status posts of his Facebook friends but saw nothing earth-shaking; a couple of birthdays, the birth of someone’s niece, an engagement announcement of someone else’s granddaughter, and a cute picture of a puppy and a baby soliciting likes. With a sigh, Jack logged off and wondered why, other than the messages, he even bothered with Facebook.

  • Starting Over at 55 Part 15
    Jack was going to meet Georgia for an innocent cup of coffee, more to make his mother happy than for any other reason. A date for a picnic dinner was not what he expected to leave the Parisian Bean with.

© 2015 DW Davis

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