The letter has finally arrived

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 30, 2002

The envelope was lying face down in the mailbox, and I laughed out loud as I pulled it out and read the return address.

"Well, it's finally here," I yelled to my husband who was standing in the driveway.

"What's here?" he said.

"Wait a minute and I'll show you," I answered.

As I walked toward him, I tore open the flap, pulled out the letter and read the words "Dear Friend."

I am never quite sure about letters that start with those words, but I read on.

"I am pleased to enclose your AARP membership registration and temporary membership card."

About this time I reached my husband in the driveway.

"I can now officially join AARP," I said. "I've got a temporary card and everything."

"Does it say anything about discounts?" he said. "Are you going to get discounts on stuff?"

I scanned the letter learning about how I would have "access to many benefits."

"It doesn't say anything about discounts, but I'll get helpful advice and information," I said. "I get a member magazine, too."

"That's good," he said going back to what he was doing.

I flipped the letter over and read more about getting advice on everything from parenting to planning my financial future. Why, they even stand up for my interests in the halls of government and promote laws against age bias. Lord knows I don't want any age bias.

It sounded good, but AARP. Was I ready to join AARP? I put the letter in the catch-all mail bin beside the door.

Later that night as I was getting ready for bed, I thought about the letter again. As I brushed my hair, I stared at the face that looked back at me in the mirror. Is this the face of an AARP member, I wondered.

"All of the sudden I'm getting waves in my hair," I said to my almost-asleep husband. "I've never had a wave in my hair that wasn't put there by a hot roller. I don't know what to do with wavy hair."

He made a noise that sounded kind of like he understood what I said.

"Maybe it has something to do with turning 50," I said to myself in the mirror. "You turn 50 join AARP and your hair gets wavy."

I drifted to sleep wondering whether I was ready for either wavy hair or AARP membership.

That was a week ago and everyday I pass that letter as I head out the door. I even picked it up once and checked the deadline for sending in my registration for permanent membership.

Today, I went to the beauty salon and consulted with an expert on my wavy hair problem. And my suspicions were confirmed, I have a slight wave in selected areas on my head.

"Just cut it so I don't have to mess with it," I said. "The older I get the less I want to fool with hair or any of that stuff."

As the words left my mouth, I realized I probably sounded old. Then it hit me – I didn't care one bit about age because I like where I am in my life, wavy hair and all.

When I got home, I got the AARP letter out and read it again. They are looking forward to my joining their ranks according to the guy who signed my letter.

If they throw in some discounts for hair cuts, I'll let them sign me up.