I am currently visiting this fitness spa I have visited on numerous previous occasions. I do not like to mention its name, because I love it here, and my praise of it may make it harder to get into in the future.
And I do not want that.
I am trying not to feel older, but I went on a hike this morning and found myself being easily outpaced by a woman wearing a "boot."
Today, in an attempt to vanquish that memory from my consciousness, I shall revisit an occasion during the mid-eighties when I met Oprah Winfrey here, before she was famous.
Oprah. then inner mid-twenties and sporting a eye-catching Afro, was here with a woman named Ellen. I was there by myself. The three of us quickly made friends and we began to hang out. Spa visits are a Saturday- to-Saturday arrangement. You generally remain there for a week.
It it now Tuesday morning. (In the story, not when I'm writing this, which is actually a Monday. Just to be accurate.)
I am napping in the lounge. Suddenly I am jostled awake. I recall woozily sitting up, "sleep spittle" dribbling attractively out of the right side of my mouth. My "awaker" is Oprah. (The attractive spittle display perhaps explaining why I have never heard from Oprah again.)
She has woken me to say goodbye. We hug warmly , I say "Goodbye, Aw-prah", she corrects me and and says, "Oh-prah."
And she is gone.
Oprah was expected to stay till Saturday. But instead, she left five days early on a Tuesday.
And I never knew why she left.
Flash Forward - Almost Twenty Years Later.
That's a long time to retain a mystery. Oprah Winfrey is now phenomenally rich and famous.
And I still do not know why she went home.
I get a call from my stepdaughter Rachel. We had been away on a family vacation, and on our return, Rachel had watched a number of back episodes of "Oprah" she had DVR'd, or whatever. With barely controllable excitement, Rachel announces that the "Mystery of Oprah" has finally been solved.
During an episode, Oprah explains to the audience that she had once entered into a weight-losing competition with a friend, and had gone to a fitness spa to augment the proedure.
On that mysterious Tuesday, she related, Oprah received a call from director Steven Spielberg, telling her that he was casting her in a movie she had auditioned for called "The Color Purple." But on one condition:
Oprah was required to remain the same (pre-competition) weight!
So that's why she went home. She dd not need the place anymore and was perhaps fearful of somehow losing weight there by accident. As interesting and fun to be around as I am, even I could not keep her from from taking off.
A twenty-year mystery, unexpectedly revealed. And I am recalling it today, skipping exercise classes that might make me feel even older than I did on the walk.
I'm telling you, that woman in the "boot" was really fast.
I would like to believe.