Friday, 25 July 2014

#374: Forever Dorothy

I am about to start downloading some holiday pictures and adding some text to the Swiss/French edition of The Reluctant Retiree Abroad.  But before I do, and before I forget, I want to acknowledge that my dearly- departed mother-in-law Dorothy has a clone who lives in Switzerland and goes hiking with her sister.

Bruce and I were on the bus from Lenk winding up up up a mountain road to the alpine meadow where we would begin a hike, and opposite us sat two white haired grandmotherly women who looked like sisters. I stared and stared at the older of the two.  I swear that it was my beautiful mother in law, Dorothy, on a Swiss hiking holiday.  A little plumper, a little taller, but  Swiss Dorothy (Dotty Swiss) had the same lovely complexion, great smile, and beautiful, expressive eyes.  I surreptiously poked Bruce --"your mother, your mother" I mouthed.

Fortunately, the French-speaking Swiss sisters seemed not to notice my extreme interest in the two of them. And it wasn't just that they looked like my in-laws.  They had both worked a cool, outdoorsy "look" with panache. I admired the white, spiked hair on Dot' s sister, but Dotty, with the amazing Ryan hair,  had coordinated her entire outfit.

Even at 85, my mother-in law had been a fashion plate.  Dorothy knew how to dress!  She would not have taken the same liberties with her appearance, but she would have admired her Swiss doppelganger, as did I.  Dotty wore hiking pants, and the necessary boots, but she also sported a smart blue t-shirt, red camisole, tiny red necklace and red earrings...... and she had two judiciously placed streaks of cherry red in her curly white hair.  

My hair is not white, not yet anyway, and it is not something I have ever aspired to.  But these ladies could make me reconsider.   Dotty and her sister were clearly embracing their age and their appearance, and having fun too.  Dorothy would have approved.

It is just as well that at the early stages of our holiday, I had no confidence in my ability to express myself in French.  Because I was twitching with the impulse to lean across to Dotty and her sister and say " J'adore vos cheveux!  Tres chic!" And if they didn't look at me in horror, I would have followed this up with "Avez-vous un tatouage?"  I could just imagine Dotty rolling down her red hiking sock to reveal the butterfly on her ankle.

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