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Eating in peace with wandering children; plus, are we too old for…it?

How young is too young for wandering around a restaurant, and how old is too old

Dear Aunt Gabby,

I have a pet peeve and I hope you will let me vent. Maybe you can suggest something I can say when the event happens again. 

My husband, Raymond, and I eat out about once a week, mostly at mom-and-pop diners, but occasionally at nice steak houses or seafood places. We tend to sit in booths, along the edge of the room, away from loud parties or kids. We like it quiet.

Invariably, some adorably gooey little child will come to us, and lay her adorably grubby little arms on our table, gaze up into our eyes, and say, “Hiya! My name is Lulabelle! What’s your name, huh? Huh? Whatcha doin’? Yuck, I don’t like that! Do you have kids? I have as sister… Her name is Rondalynne and she is 6 and a half. I hate her…” and on and on.

We sit there, smiling and nodding, then frowning, and looking around for a parent. Nothing. After about TEN minutes (that seem like half an hour) a rumpled dad will show up, swoop the child up with one arm and make noises that sound like an apology.

What are people thinking, allowing a 3-year-old to wander around in a public place? My kids are grown but when they were little, they didn’t leave their seats, unless they wanted to go to the bathroom and then they were escorted until they were about 9 or 10. 

What should we do?

Hungry in Kellyville

Dear Hungry,

Hey, thanks for giving me an easy one! I had this same problem, even when my kids were young. My children were not allowed to wander in stores, in malls, in restaurants, or hang out at McDonald’s—and that was 35 years ago, when pervs were only getting started.

Here’s what you do: as soon as your adorable pest comes, one of you hop up and go find the manager. Do not touch the child. 

Tell the manager that you want to report a wandering child, and ask to have the parent called to the register for a “found” child. Then, take the manager to your table and give the child to the manager. Lulabelle is now her adorably sticky problem and she may end up calling the police if the parents have abandoned her. 

Eat. In. Peace. 

Dear Aunt Gabby,

I know this is a family newspaper, but I have a serious problem. I am 72, and my wife is 66. We have been married for 47 years, raised three kids, and have a very nice life. That is, except for one thing. 

My wife has decided that she is too old for sex. She says it is embarrassing. I am not too old for sex. I am very interested, not like a teenager, but still alive.

My wife kisses me goodbye when I leave the house, and holds my hand at movies. That’s about it. We may have another twenty years together, but not like this.

What am I supposed to do? All she says is…

Give me a Break, Jake  

Dear Jake,

I hear your frustration and dilemma. With such a great life behind you, anyone would want it to continue for another twenty years.

I also understand that your wife may not recognize the woman looking back at her from the mirror. Like most other people, I feel 19 in my head, until I look in the mirror and then I ask in shock: Who is that old lady wearing my dress? Oh…eww. Then, I shrug and get on with my life.

I think the first thing you should do is ask her—not late at night in bed—but in the afternoon sitting in the park, what her objections are specifically. Help her by promising not to interrupt, not to make excuses or take offense, but let her talk. Let her tell you what is hurting her. Something is. Proceed as if both of you are going to solve a mutually confusing difficulty.

Now, if you can’t do that, then you are not “close” enough to be intimate right now, anyway. Straighten out what is going on standing up, then deal with the rest.

Also, ask her if she is well. Ask if she has a physical reason for her point of view (pain, illness, tired, dizzy). Be kind and compassionate. This is not just about you, but about both of you.

Most normal, healthy adults enjoy intimacy. Do you know one of the biggest challenges in nursing homes? It is what Sheldon on “Big Bang Theory” referred to as “wrinkled rabbits.”

Then, some older people could care less. 

That said, next go to your minister or a marriage counselor. Go by yourself, if she won’t go with you, for advice on questions to ask, or options you and your wife have, and how to proceed into the future. Good luck to both of you.

About the Author

Micah is the owner/Editor-In-Chief of Sapulpa Times and passionate about telling the everyday stories in the town that we love. You can find him on Twitter at @meetmicah or email him at

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