Of course, you are right. That's an extremely presumptuos title. But I shall presume only to cover a smidgen of the subject and that, I trust, with humility. It started after I had written a guest blog for Gransnet. Under 'comment' I found one from the features department of a National Newspaper asking if I were prepared to do a piece for them. Actually, yes, I could find the energy to do that. A day or so went by until we finally spoke when, Dear Reader, with rue and irony, I realised there had been a break in frequency and our wavelengths differed. The young - sounding - lady at the other end had read the guest blog and my thoughts on love being easier at the three score and more than ten than at the forty end of my experience. She had pictured a stream of enlightened romances. I was talking about 'caritas'; the kind of love which sits in the solar plexus and usually doesn't relate to the physical side of things although it is not a written rule that it should'nt. I meant compassion, and warmth and an encompassing alrightness. I find it very freeing and enabling. In the every day sense, it often means that the slings and arrows of this and that slide off me, leaving me positive and whole. For Heaven's sake, I can just be nicer than I was. Stupidly, I told the lady this - not the' nicer' bit - when a cannier old lady may have said "That's fine. I'll send you a piece about my latest four romances." and had a lovely time making them up. Now I have scuppered my chance to be known in the world and even invited on to 'Woman's Hour'. (This is a daily UK radio magazine programme if you happen to be in Mountview, California).
The working reality of the question of love was brought home to me in spades yesterday evening when I was speaking on the telephone to someone I have loved dearly for fifty five years. He is widowed, now, after a remarkable marriage of many, many decades. An amazing man, brilliant, experienced, fluent in many languages, well versed in politics and sport but not particularly emotionally intelligent. At least, that's what I had the temerity to assume over all those years. Last evening he suddenly said " You know: love is the most important thing. Nothing else matters where there is love." He misses the touches, the tiny kisses, the walking passed and giving a little stroke. He is seriously old but totally himself in what he gives out and how he sounds. I suppose that sort of love nicely covers all eventualities; the imaginings of the Features editor and the 'truth' of caritas. Personally, I thought a piece based on the crossed wires of that lady and me would have been a delicious riot of misunderstandings with the polarisation of our different ages. Bora da