Senior Love on the back of a Harley

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – August 12, 2022

By Tom Blake

Patrica and Cowboy
Cowboy on his Harley
On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter   August 12, 2022  

By Columnist Tom Blake    

There are two parts to today’s eNewsletter  

Part 1 – Senior Dating – Love on the back of a Harley  

I received an email this week from a Champ that began, “Hi, it’s Patricia, Chapter 12,” which puzzled me for a few seconds, and then I noticed that Patricia had added the words “Love on the back of a Harley.” When I saw those words, I knew immediately who it was from.  

In 2009, I published a book titled “How 50 Couples Found Love After 50.” The book’s title is slightly off. A more accurate title would have been: “How 58 Couples Found Love After 50.” Eight additional stories were added after the final artwork was submitted. So, there are 58 stories of how senior couples met.  

When I answered Patricia’s email, I signed my email–not as Tom–but as “Chapter 58,” which is the final story of the book and tells of how Greta and I met when she ordered a fresh carrot juice at my deli 25 years ago.  Several of our current Champs’ stories are included in that book, including Patricia’s and Cowboy’s, which is Chapter 12.  

In her email, Patricia wrote, “I wanted to share a fun and unique experience that happened recently.    “My husband, Cowboy, and I moved from Paso Robles, California, to Montana, last year, and we love it. We bought a much nicer house for $100,000 less than the one we sold in California. The cost of gas is at least a dollar less a gallon and there is no sales tax. When you buy new furniture and a washer & dryer, as we did, that makes a huge difference!

“The Paramount TV Series ‘Yellowstone,’ starring Kevin Costner, is filmed here, and my husband and I have been paid to be extras in the show. What an adventure that has been!   “Many people beg to be extras, but they will only hire residents of Montana. I can’t tell you much about it as we had to sign NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) but I can tell you that it’s an amazing and very well-managed production.   

“Season 5 will start airing mid-November, but they will be shooting through January. We may do more days as extras.  “On another subject, we are fully enjoying going over the Rockies on the Harley and doing the ‘Run to the Sun.   “We live just an hour from Glacier National Park, so we are taking advantage of the warm weather and exploring many parts of the park. I’ve included some photos that reveal the spectacular scenery.”  

Comment from Tom: As sometimes happens with stories from Champs, coincidences emerge. Two happened with Patricia’s email. She mentioned Kevin Costner.   The first coincidence: my partner Greta was in a business administration class at California State University Fullerton with him in 1974.

The second coincidence is Glacier National Park. In 1976, my buddy Jack Jarrell and I went camping there with our two women friends. He and I were avid fly fishermen. The general store manager in our campground mentioned a lake about an hour’s hike away at a higher elevation that was filled with hungry native rainbow and brook trout.  The four of us went for it and hiked to the lake. The weather was as perfect that day as the pictures that Patricia included in her email reveal.  

Each one of us caught our fish limits within an hour. It was the most incredible fly fishing I had ever experienced. We decided to take the fish back to the campsite to cook for dinner. Jack’s lady Jan said she had a special recipe for cooking wild-caught trout. We were licking our chops (what we did not know was there was a 4-legged hungry animal nearby which was also licking its chops).

As the four of us were walking back, about 200 yards from the lake, a park ranger on horseback with a high-powered rifle protruding from a saddlebag approached us. He said, “I see you have some fish.”  

I guessed that perhaps he thought we didn’t have fishing licenses. I said, “We all have fishing licenses!”   He said, “This is far more serious than that.”   He had our attention. The Park Ranger said, “Did you see that pile of poop about 25 yards back?” We all nodded yes.  

He said, “Was it steaming?” We all nodded yes.   He said, “A grizzly bear just dropped that 10 to 15 minutes ago. He will smell your fish and be coming after you for them. He’d be happy to kill you to get them.”   The Park Ranger was dead serious. He said, “Toss your fish in the bushes and follow me. I will lead you away from the bear.”

We complied. After a quarter mile, he said, “You’re safe now. I’m leaving. Have a nice day.”   At the campsite that night, we cooked hamburgers over the fire. We imagined that our grizzly buddy was enjoying a fresh fish dinner near the lake.  That’s the Glacier National Park coincidence.   So, Champs, keep the stories coming. Have I told you about the shark encounter on The Great Barrier Reef? Only joking, of course.  

Part 2 – How 50 (58) Couples Found Love After 50  

I’ve got a few copies of How 50 Couples Found Love After 50 in inventory. For Champs who would enjoy a book, the cost is $8.98 which includes taxes, shipping, and a signed book. In 2009, that would have cost $24.00.   You can pay with a credit card via my PayPal account or a check. Email me if you’d like a book at that special price.   Each of the 58 stories concludes with a short “Senior Dating Lessons Learned” section, which provides helpful advice for singles who hope to meet a mate.

For example, in Champ Patricia’s Chapter 12 section, her lesson is: “When senior dating, open your mind to new adventures and activities. Expand your horizons, your reach, and your thinking.”   When Patricia and Cowboy first met, Cowboy rode a Harley; Patricia was a fashion-industry expert. Diverse backgrounds. And yet, they met, married, and have an incredible relationship and love for each other. Ride along with them on their Harley.  
Tom’s book on sale -email me for details

Senior dating baggage – Protect yourself

January 22, 2021 – On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter

Columnist Tom Blake

       (Note from Tom: This eNewsletter has been edited for length and clarity)

Senior Dating Baggage Protect yourselfDating a still-married man

A woman Champ shared her story this week, hoping it might help others. Some people might criticize her decisions. But remember, we haven’t walked in her shoes.

She wrote, “At 54, my husband died in my arms after a four-year battle with cancer. I had no intent to date or remarry. Two years later, I met a guy at a neighbor’s birthday party who was five years younger and I decided to take a chance on dating.

“I never expected to fall in love, feel butterflies, with hopes and dreams once again, but I did.

“Stopping us from living together was his dating ‘baggage.’ He was still married to his estranged wife of 20+ years! They had never divorced. Why? I will never know.

“Also, he had a very troublesome and financially dependent adult son.

“We wanted to live together, in my home, but before I would allow him to move in, “HE HAD TO BE DIVORCED.” Only when his divorce was final could he then move in. So until that happened, we continued as a LAT couple. 

“When he showed me court papers that he had finally filed for divorce, we became engaged! Yay!

Tom’s comment: So far, so good. She was wise to take a no-move-in-together stand while he was married.

She continued, “Unfortunately, I found him dead in his condo before his divorce was final. First, my husband and now I find my fiancé dead! Again, my world crashed! He died intestate (with no will) and he was still married.

“My advice: Never get involved with anyone who remains separated. Also, do not leave any personal items in the person’s home. In the end, by not being family, it will never end well for you. 

“This was the most heartbreaking and horrifying PTSD experience and loss. In the end, I was nothing! I was locked out of the condo as well as not allowed access to my belongings and thrown out like yesterday’s garbage.

“His wife and son were his legal family and held all legal power; she was estranged but still held the marriage certificate. The situation became a frightening nightmare with threats, nasty 1 a.m. texts, demands of money, etc.

“I was the hated one! They kept my personal property. I have no idea the cause of death or where they threw his ashes and was denied my heartfelt, loving goodbye.

At age 66 now, and with the pandemic, it is difficult–if not impossible–to meet and start new trusted relationships. It takes time and time is running out.

“I made sure my fiancé was my #1 priority, but in the end, he never made me his #1 priority. After a six-year committed relationship of caring for him, his ailing sweet mom, and troubled kid, and patiently waiting for his divorce, it was as if I never existed in his life! 

“He never thought to protect me! And I didn’t protect myself! In the end, I wasn’t even a consideration.”

                                          Four Senior Dating Lessons learned

(1) Couples in a serious or meaningful relationship need to make each other the top priority

(2) Don’t fall in love with someone married, or who has been separated–without divorcing–for a long time

(3) Problems with a mate’s financially dependent or troubled children can move you down his priority list to number two, three, or even lower 

(4) If you are going to live with a mate, especially in his home, have the “what if?” talk beforemoving in. Based on the talk, a written legal document must be executed before moving in to protect you. This woman prematurely moved into his home: his divorce wasn’t finalized and there was no legal document. She was not protected.

I can only imagine how difficult it was for our Champ to have two partners pass away. As I was preparing this eNewsletter on Tuesday the 19th, my nephew called to tell me my only brother, William V. Blake III, (Bill Blake) had passed away from complications of cancer.

I don’t mention that for sympathy, I mention it because you are all family to me, and I simply wanted you to know.

Bill Blake, Tom Blake and Derek Blake (Bill’s son) at the Alamo Dec 27 2005

I’m okay. But I will miss not being able to talk to him every few days as I did for years.

Hold each other tight.