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Mint Juleps
Saturday, July 29, 2006  
I almost said "let me look in your purse for you" as the old lady next to me at the coat check was having trouble finding her ticket. We were leaving the party at Christie's for Nan Kempner's new book RSVP about the tables and menus at the fabulous homes she had eaten dinner at.

But there is a certain distance that strangers in New York feel between each other -- afraid that their solicitousness may be misinterpreted. I although we exchanged a few words, and she found her ticket, I didn't know what to do about the possibly dottie old woman next to me. So when my coat came I walked away, leaving her at the counter and feeling sorry.

I walked to the other end of the room and watched her. No one else was at the checkout counter, although there were some groups of people talking to each other in small clumps about the room. She took her mink, threw it easily across her shoulders and walked into the center of the room and soon out the door. I had thought she was in her late 70's and did not recognize her (well, we had never met and I'm really bad at remembering faces anyway). But I did soon after see her picture. Now I read that Brooke Astor is 104! She must have been 98 or 99 then and I feel even worse about this little moment of "life goes on, so don't wait to help an old lady on with her coat" and at the same time thrilled that at that age she still got on so well all by herself.

Saturday, July 29, 2006



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