Be More Like Betty

Not too long ago, I wrote about a trip my daughter Lindsay and I made to a unique bookstore. There, we had a ghostly encounter when a book flew off the shelf and landed at my feet. But that wasn’t the only encounter we had that memorable afternoon.

While browsing, one book in particular caught Lindsay’s eye. 

“Mom, I found a cool book out front,” she said, tugging on my arm like a toddler.

With my ghostly book safely tucked under my arm, I followed her outside to the bookshelves attached to the exterior of the building.

“It’s here somewhere,” she said, tilting her head slightly to get a better view of the book titles printed on the spines. “Now, where did it go? It’s purple. Someone had written on the front page. I can’t read it because it’s written in cursive.” Her fingertips tapped on spine after spine. Pulling out one book after another, “No, no, no.” Until finally, “Yeah! Here it is.” She pulled out the like new, lilac and peacock blue book. It had barely been touched. Proudly she handed it over to me and pointed, “Right there on the front page.”

Sure enough, written in perfect cursive, “To John and Mary – Love Betty. Wow,” I said when I finished reading. “Betty is such an old-fashioned name. Wait a minute,” with a quick flip, I turned the book on its side and read the title and, more notably, the author.

“Lindsay, Betty White wrote this book about her dog.”

“Who is Betty White?” she asked.

“What!? How have I failed you?”

I rifled through the pages when suddenly a piece of stationary floated out – good, expensive stationary with a watermark and Betty’s name embossed on top. It was a hand-written thank you note for a lovely dinner. I carefully slipped it back inside the book and slammed it shut.

“Don’t tell anyone,” I ordered. “I doubt the store knows about this treasure, and if they do, they won’t sell it, or they’ll sell it for a small fortune.” 

Lindsay nodded like Oliver Twist to Fagin, “Okay, Mom.”

We hustled up to the counter.

“Did you have a fun visit?” the nice girl asked.

“Yes, thank you,” I replied with a rapid, guilt-stricken voice. “Did you find anything interesting?” she continued.

Lindsay nodded stoically, revealing nothing.

“Good, it’s fun here. May I see your choices?” She asked holding out her hands.

“WHAT?” I gasped. 

“Just to see the prices.”

“Oh… of course,” I threw my head back and chuckled, “ha, ha, ha.”

What if she finds the note? What if that other book jumps out at her as it did me? My heart raced until she reached down and put them in a plain brown paper bag.

“Your total is $4.35.”

“What? That’s it? That’s all?” 

“Yes, this is a used book store.”

“Oh.” I handed her a five-dollar bill. “Keep the change as a donation.” I grabbed the bag and Lindsay, and I made a run for it. When our feet touched the sidewalk, I turned to Lindsay, “Start the car! Start the car!”

Now it’s my turn to write Betty White a thank you note.

Dear Betty,

Thank you for the wonderful nights I spent watching “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “The Golden Girls”. It seems you have always been a part of our lives. Thanks for showing us there’s humor in everything; for your “off-color” jokes, and for making dim-witted look so bright. Thank you for showing the world that old age is not just okay, but fun. And, of course, teaching us we need animals more than they need us. You’ve moved on, but trust we will pick up the flag and keep laughing while being pulled by a dog on a long leash.

Live with waffletude

2 thoughts on “Be More Like Betty

  1. Betty White was perfect! I loved her best in the Mary Tyler Moore Show where she, as Sue Ann Nivens, marvelously skated on the edge of then many of society’s taboos.

    She was the first woman to receive the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host (yes, I looked it up). And of course she was married to Allen Ludden (the iconic game show host)

    Thank you for sharing this magic moment of yours.


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