Celebrating Medicare with key lime pie

June 23, 2019

Birthdays with key lime pie!

As my Medicare card arrived in the mail, I can’t help but contrast my parents’ lifestyles and health to my own. None of them were role models on how to take care of themselves.

Both of my parents and my husband’s parents were deceased by the time I reached 50. I recall my mirror roaring back at me: “You are half a century old! Take inventory of your health. For God’s sake, buy some moisturizer!”

What did I want at 50? A birthday party extravaganza complete with a caterer, a bartender, and a DJ. Twinkling lights and a backyard of family and friends dancing till dark, trampling down the grass. 

My daughter took me shopping for a new outfit where I paid full price. Hedonistic. She choose dangling earrings to match. Scandalous.  If I didn’t make it to 51, I would remember the big 50. 

But the most important purchase I made that year was to hire a certified grief specialist. How does one grieve the loss of three parents who perished in a little over one year? 

Ten visits for 10 weeks at $100 a visit. Squanderer! 

I imagined my parents, hands outstretched looking down from the heavens, “Do you know how many whole hams you could buy with $1,000? Can’t you just make 10 pounds of potato salad and buy hotdogs?’

No. Belgian endive stuffed with blue cheese and walnuts. 

This therapist was in her 70s and she knew a secret because she was in her 70s. She knew that many people get stuck in their grief. They can’t move forward to enjoy life.  They don’t know how to spend money on themselves because they never did.

This wise counselor said, “You don’t have to make the same choices your parents made. What do you want this next phase of your life to look like?” She gave me a blank sheet of paper and told me to draw a straight line. “Mark one end of this line where you are standing. Then write your goal for yourself at the other end of the straight line.”

At the end of my line, I wrote, ‘Finish the novel.”

Although it took many more years, I did accomplish that goal and self-published it in 2017. (Shameless plug: “Find Me Alone” is available at Browesabout Books in Rehoboth or on

To celebrate this year and my Medicare milestone, I want a key lime pie. Key lime pies remind me of the time I enticed a fellow teacher JoAnn and my principal Nancy to fly to Key West for our spring vacation.

As we took in the sunset on Mallory Square, I bought one piece of key lime pie. They said they didn’t want any, but I asked for three forks anyway.  They ended up eating all of it! Today, I have perfected the best pie ever! The secret is 12-14 big fat juicy limes. No concern if they aren’t on sale. The recipe calls for one and a quarter cups of lime juice.

My parents and my husband’s parents were of the Depression era. It wasn’t in their nature or their means to spend money on themselves. 

With old age, comes perspective! Take care of yourself, entice a few friends to play along, and eat desserts which bring you lip-smacking pleasure.