All About Seniors: Romantic Fever

Published 4:51 pm Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Have you noticed the sea of red all over Wal-Mart and other retailers? It’s that time of year again, guys. The Super Bowl is over , it’s time to put away your beer and pizza and go get something red filled with chocolate for your Valentine.
As February 14th approaches every year you can see the level of frustration grow on male faces in the stores as they rush around amid everything red and chocolate.
I know it can be frustrating with all the other stuff we men have to do, but try putting yourself in your bride’s shoes for a bit. Remember how you were when you were trying to win her heart? Maybe back in high school or college and you non-stop wanted to be with her or talking to her? Well that’s what she wants again, if only for a day; for you to tell her how special she is and remind her of when you were courting once again.
Let me share with you a real senior love story. When my mother-in-law, who has been the subject of many of these columns, was in high school, she got a bad case of rheumatic fever. It was so bad that she had to stay home from school for most of the year. But a certain Harley-Davidson riding friend of hers was so concerned about her academic achievement that every day he made it his business to bring her schoolwork to her on his motorcycle. Absolutely nothing to do with romance I’m sure. After all, they both had separate boyfriends and girlfriends with whom they would sometimes even double date together. Well, she survived the rheumatic fever and they both went on to graduate and finish high school, graduating in the same class with David Brinkley, the famed anchor of NBC’s Nightly News.
Fast forward about fifty years and several children and grandchildren. Now both the rheumatic patient and the Harley riding mobile book delivery boy found themselves widowed (about 18 months for him and 9 months for her). When he discovered her widowhood in September, you would have thought it was February because there was a sea of red roses being delivered to her door.
Fast forward three months more and they eloped to Texas where marriage licenses could be dispensed faster and cheaper according to Grandpa Sandy as he endearingly became known to all of us, including his adopted grandchildren and great grandchildren. For logistical reasons, the details of which I’ve forgotten, they had to take separate transportation back from Texas to Wilmington, NC where they grew up and were going to make home.
And that was just the opportunity that Grandpa Sandy needed to show off his sense of humor to his new bride. He made it his business to beat her back to the house and placed a hand-painted sign on the door to welcome her: “Caution, Romantic Fever
That’s a true story; I’ve seen the sign myself all these years later. In fact it is right next to her bed and I’d dare say it is the most treasured Valentine she ever received.
So why don’t you guys show a little “Romantic Fever” to your brides as well this Valentine’s Day? But just one word of warning, it may be contagious!
Thanks for reading All About Senior…..see you next week!
Bill Milby, CSA, is a Certified Senior Advisor and a Director of Visiting Angels® of Macon, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at or search for us at