Here in the Charleston, I see them a lot, traveling in giggly packs wearing glittery brooches and carrying purses festooned with feathers, all matching their red hats and purple dresses. They’re the famous Red Hat Society, inspired by this poem by Jenny Joseph. And while those ladies seem to have a lot of fun, I’ve found some other role models for my golden years, thanks to the headline that made my morning when I saw it in a tweet from Roger Ebert: Nursing Home Residents form a Biker Gang. You should really go read that story. It warmed my heart (ok, it could have also been that blessed cup of coffee) to read of old ladies getting tats and wearing leather and demanding dirty martinis from bartenders. And how awesome is it that the bikers came out to dance and flirt with them and are planning to take them out on the bikes when the weather is warmer?
When I am an old woman I shall wear leather
With a tattoo which doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on martinis and biker gloves
And black leather boots, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall hop on my hog when I’m tired
And guzzle up cocktails in dive bars and set off fireworks
And juice my ride along public motorways
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out with my gang every night
And dance with the easy riders at the Evil Olive . . .
The way I see it, motorcycles are way too dangerous for me now. Thanks to growing up with an ER doc for a dad, I know how deadly they can be, and you’d never get me on one. But why not throw caution to the wind when I am 80? I’m gonna be hell on wheels. Too bad nobody told my Granny (my great grandmother) about this. She’d have loved the biking grannies, I’m sure, though even without the leather and martinis, she was quite the character. She dyed her hair a different color every time she went to the beauty parlor, always had a bright red manicure, had boyfriends with whom she played dominoes, flirted with her doctors, and was known to accost strangers in the grocery store over the things they chose to put in their buggies. I’m going to channel her spirit, which surely resides in my genes, in a more “bat outta hell” direction when I’m an old woman.