Roger Aylworth is the contact-wearing, keen-of-hearing, direction-challenged, sentimental, long-time ER reporter married four decades to the saintly Susan. For many years his weekly humor column, filled with family foibles and gentle wit, has graced this paper, and now, for the holidays, there's a new collection of favorites.
"Senior Showers" ($16.95 in paperback from Delphi Books) gathers 99 columns, most from mid-2006 to mid-2010, arranged in broad categories like "on growing older," "computers and other mechanical carnage," "on being, or being with, Roger," and "widgets and grandwidgets." Here are true tales of the couple's seven children, their spouses, and most especially the grandkids on visits to Casa Aylworth (here's looking at you, 2-year-old Caleb!).
Aylworth will be reading from and signing copies of his new collection at Lyon Books in Chico this Thursday, December 8 at 7:00 p.m.
The book starts with the title essay, and Aylworth explains that he's not "advocating a group lathering" but rather something akin to wedding showers only on the other end of life. "I can see the invitation that would summon those who love me to my senior shower: 'Roger has registered at the "Golden Years Adult Care facility" where you can sign up to cover as many months of residency as you wish. An account has also been set up at Dr. Krutch Walker's hip replacement clinic for gifts of any size!'"
More practically, Aylworth details the effort required to put together the clan gathering called Aylapalooza III. It's expensive to find housing for nearly three dozen family members. "While as a group we might have filet mignon tastes," he notes, "we tend to have a Spam budget." Speaking of kids, Aylworth provides some helpful suggestions on creating "homegrown mythology": "My dear bride, the saintly Susan, and I told our seven widgets that the belly button was the place where the screw went in that holds on your posterior."
Here are manly-man stories (don't mess with "MAH TRUCK"!), the death of a washing machine ("It toils not," says Susan, "neither does it spin"), and sage advice: "Best way to plan for golden years: Ask kids for gold." And "Roger's words of wisdom" at the end includes an observation from son Paul: "There is always one more idiot than you planned for."