Arnie Gets a Date for the Prom

By Riley McDavid   Riley McDavid

“Are you going to the Seniors’Prom?” Mrs. McD asked Arnie.

“I don’t have anyone to go with.”

 “How about Winifred, the lady we sometimes play golf with?”

“I dunno.  She’s kinda clingy.  I’m afraid once she gets her clutches on me, she’ll never let go.”

“That’s not such a bad thing,” I said.  “Ever since Mrs. Arnold passed away six years ago, you’ve been all alone.”

Arnie screwed up his face and shook his head.  “No way,” he said.  “No more marriage for me.  She’d just come in and tell me to pick up my socks off the floor and put on a clean shirt every two hours, and all that female stuff.   I like the way I live.”

“Who said anything about marriage?” Mrs. McD said.  “She could just be a now-and-then companion. Anyway, I know for sure Winifred’s not interested in marriage either.”

“You think?” Arnie said.

“I know for sure,” Mrs. McD replied.

Arnie thought for a bit.  Then he said, “So why should I even go, with or without Winifred?”

“It benefits Age Well.  Over the past 20 years, the proms have collected more than $500,000. “

“That’s more than half a million,” Arnie said.

“You’re good with numbers,” Mrs. McD said, but Arnie totally missed the sarcasm.

“Give me another reason.”

“It’s fun,” I said. “If you can do something to benefit others, and have a lot of fun while you’re doing it, that’s an all time great win-win situation.”

“Why is it fun?”

’You’ll dance to the music of Johnny Vana’s Big Band Alumni, enjoy a delicious buffet dinner and have the chance to take home some terrific raffle prizes, “

“Just who is Johnny Vana and what school did his alumni graduate from?”

“Not from a school,” I said.  “They’re almost all graduates of some of the greatest big bands of all time — Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Harry James, Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, Count Basie, Billy May, and many more names of the Big Band Era.”

“And this guy Vana?”

“He is one of the best drummers in the United States. He started his playing at the age of four — four, Arnie!“ At fourteen, he was a regular with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra.”

“Does anybody really go to these things?  I mean will I be out there on the dance floor with Winifred and nobody else around us?”

“ You bet people go to the Prom,” I said. Age Well CEO Dr. Marilyn Ditty told us they get nearly a 1,000 seniors every year,  She also told us that besides providing an evening’s entertainment for all those people, this event is an important fundraiser for Age Well,  particularly now when government funding sources are being squeezed.  You’re a Meals on Wheels driver, Arnie.  You know how much good Age Well does.  You’ve got to pitch in and help financially now when they need the help so much.”

Mrs. McD, who would have made a great closer had she chosen sales as a career, jumped right in. “Kindred Healthcare is making a big commitment with a $10,000 sponsorship. The least you can do is buy a $45 ticket.”

“Suppose she turns me down?”

“Oh, she won’t,” I said quite confidently, and Mrs. McD shot me a withering glance.

“You sound so sure. Have you been talking to her?”

“Not me,” Mrs. McD said.  “How about you Riley?”

“Me? Gosh no.  I haven’t seen Winifred in weeks. I think she’s out of town.”

“I think so too,” Mrs. McD said.

“So anyway I’ll be helping Age Well?” Arnie said.

“Not exactly,” I said. “You’ll help the seniors they serve.  These are good people who, through no fault  of their own, need some assistance.”

“Okay, okay, you got me convinced. Tell me the details”

“It’s at the Irvine Marriott on Sunday November 10 from 5 to 9 p.m. Admission is $45 in advance, $50 at the door. Self parking is $7, valet. $12. To purchase tickets, call (949) 855-8033 or go to any Age Well senior site.”

We chatted a little more and then Arnie left.   As soon as the door closed, Mrs. McD picked up the phone and dialed a number. After a brief moment, she said, “Winifred? This is Riley’s wife. Expect a phone call. Arnie just left. What’s that? No, he didn’t suspect a thing. He bought it hook, line and sinker.”

Coming up on the Age Well Calendar:

Sunday, November 10: Seniors’ Prom: “The Roaring 20’s” at the Irvine Marriott Hotel Benefiting Meals on Wheels. 5 pm to 9 pm. Entertainment by Johnny Vana’s Big Band Alumni. Tickets $45 in advance $50 at the door.  Tickets available at Age Well sites through Friday, November 1. Transportation available at select sites. For more information, call (949) 855-8033.

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