The Valiant Ones – Dedicated to my mother

They are no longer young.

They saw middle age receding in their rear view mirror many years ago.

They are an army of old ladies.

Their hair is silver and perfectly coiffeured. Their manicured finger and toe nails range in shades from subtle mauves to pearly pinks. Their eyebrows are plucked. Their crinkled skin is delicately powdered, with a hint of blush. Their lipstick is subtle.

Shaky hands and arthritic fingers have made eyeliner and mascara a thing of the past.

Their clothes are always perfect. Each one of them has her own style. Tailored or elegant. Casual or suitable for a cruise.



Their blouses are crisply ironed. Their slacks are perfectly creased.

Their great granddaughters wear clunky, orthopedic looking shoes. But they, on sometimes swollen feet, wear feminine, pretty, girlish heels.

They are not just old ladies. They are the women who turned the heads of soldiers, sailors, and airmen during World War II – all those years ago.

They were saucy, strong, smart, and beautiful then.

They are breathtaking now.

They are our mothers, our grandmothers, and our great grandmothers, deep in the trenches, fighting for joy, beauty, and dignity … long after they were first described as old.

They knew how to pinch a penny, cut a coupon, refurbish a hand-me-down, teach values, and tell us to stand up straight, keep our legs together on a bus, and refrain from putting on lipstick in public. They introduced us to ballet, books, and boys.

They are and will eternally be our heroes.

Soldiers die with their boots on.

This army, if it ever has to leave us (please, don’t), will do so after a trip to the beauty parlor.

PROCLAMATION: Let it be known and let them know that for their valor and vanity in the face of the relentlessly accruing years, we revere, honor, and salute them.

Now. Forever. And always.

Shelly Reuben has been nominated for Edgar, Prometheus, and Falcon awards. She is an author, private detective, and fire investigator. For more about her books, visit www.shellyreuben.com.

Copyright © 2011, Shelly Reuben

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