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Clara and Bea and Me

I have made two new friends in the last six months, which at my age (70) is not that easy to do. Clara, who is 103, is the first of the two. We met up at an event sponsored by the Commission on Aging (of which I am a member). Our commission honors centenarians, and Clara was one of them. When I was introduced to her, I thought of my mother, who is now deceased. Had she lived longer, she would have been Clara’s age. Clara had a strong look about her. Her eyes were inquisitive and unafraid. She didn’t smile too much, but just enough to signal that she knew what she was doing. After the event was over, I sent Clara a card, and then followed up with a visit to her nursing home to pay my respects. From that time to this, on every Friday except one, Clara and I have had our visiting time.
Last Friday, Clara said to me as I was leaving: “Thanks for coming. I like you to visit.”
Bea, who is Clara’s roommate, unexpectedly said, “Yes, me too. I like it when you come.”
Bea is a quiet woman who is younger than Clara. She is ambulatory, so sometimes when I come, Bea is not there. When I ask Clara about Bea’s whereabouts, she always says, “Probably having lunch at Denny’s.” One of these days, I’ll get to the bottom of the mystery.
For now, the three of us have shared some information about each other, but not too much. I know that Clara fought hardship in her life, and I have too. As to Bea, she said she was always a quiet person, even as a child. That is true of me as well.
Because my mother has a permanent place in my memory, I imagine that she approves of my new friends. She might say something like, “Keep it up, Elizabeth. It can’t do any harm, and it might do some good. A person can’t ask for more than that in life.”