by David Bunnell
WHEN MY UNCLE BILLY TURNED 90, his children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews; plus his few living friends, decided to get together and have a big birthday bash for him. Driving or flying in from around the country, we all gathered at his house in Omaha, Nebraska, where he lives with his wife Audry, who is quite a few decades younger.
Yes, Uncle Billy, much to everyone’s shock married a much younger woman after his wife, Aunt June died in an automobile accident about 12 years ago. Only a few weeks after her death, he announced he had gotten married by the Omaha Justice of the Peace to Audry, who was then 32. Uncle Billy was 78.
In a strange way, it actually made sense.
An avid fitness freak, Uncle Billy went on daily bike rides of 10 miles or more, he swam frequently and also pumped iron at a nearby YMCA. He ate a healthy, mostly organic diet and claimed to sleep 10 hours a night, “like a baby.”
Mentally fit too, Uncle Billy liked to impress people by memorizing the words to popular songs which he would sing to us, making everyone laugh. (You have no idea how funny it can be to hear an 80-year-old man flawlessly singing the lyrics to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”)
His relationship with Audry seemed very loving. Half jokingly he once told me, “Audry and I wouldn’t make much sense if it wasn’t for Viagra.”