Once again, my man John Prine provides me with some much needed inspiration. The guy can tell a story.

She's got the mind of a child
And a body peaking over the hill
Well, she would if she could
And she should but nobody will

She looked out of place right from the very start…
I saw her standing off by herself, smoke from her cigarette rising out of the ashtray, a rum and coke with a slice of lime curled in one hand and the other resting under her chin. Every once in awhile, she’d glance down at her wrist watch and check her makeup and hair in the mirror behind the bar. She looked like she was waiting for someone or, for that matter, anyone.

With her nails painted red
And her hair so unnaturally curled
Well I think that she may be
The oldest baby in the world

The lights inside the bar had been dimmed and from four or five barstools away, almost everybody looks the same. It isn’t until you get up close and personal that you notice all of the little fault lines that decorate the faces of those who prefer the night life. They start out slowly enough, that’s for sure but sooner or later, they’ll come. And when they do, mark my words, they’re here to stay.

She's tasted the night life
But it's left her with nothing but hunger
And all the available men
Seem to think that they want something younger

Yep, you could just tell that this one had been around the block once or twice in her career. Even though the bar made it’s living catering to folks in their mid twenties or so, this one had to be pushing fifty. It wasn’t late enough and the youngen’s weren’t drunk enough to start hitting on her just yet and the sigh she let out seemed to call out to me to come on over and we could start telling our tales.

But youth is a costume
And the beauty within lies unfurled
And I think that she may be
The oldest baby in the world

So that’s just what I did. After what seemed like a lifetime of chasing women twenty or so years my junior (with little success I might add) I figured that maybe it was time I stuck to my own age group.

It’s a funny thing. When I walked over and introduced myself, there were no pretenses to hide behind, no excuses to be made and nothing to be afraid of. In days gone by, I’d always had that fear in the back of my head of rejection. That somehow, after I started up a conversation, there would be silent giggles echoing in the younger girls brain and that in the end, I would wind up playing the fool and footing the bill.

So we talked. And we drank. And we laughed. And then we did it all some more. We talked about our travels and our troubles, we talked about failed dreams and of the escapades of our youth. The minutes soon turned to hours and hours turned even quicker to closing time. Those dreaded words “Last call!” soon rang out from behind the bar.

“We should have one for the road


I put the order in and went to the bathroom to glance in the mirror and take a much needed piss.

Fast horses win races
And royal flushes beat aces
And everyone's playing to keep
So let's turn out the lights
And rock that old baby to sleep

After I took care of business I came out to find her still sitting there. By this time, one of the younger studs under the invincibility of booze had idled up and was laying it on pretty thick. At first, it looked like she was buying it and I was just gonna say good night and chalk it up to bad timing. But then she said “Here he is” and said “Nice to meet you” and she patted the barstool next to her and motioned me to sit down.

I felt….golden

She loves the sound of the rain
But you know she's still afraid of the thunder
She keeps a head full of hope
And a heart that's so full of wonder

We found one of those all night cafes and settled in for a bite to eat. We talked some more about where our lives had been and where they were headed. I think we were both trying to stave off that awkward moment when you’re either going to wind up in each others arms or make some future plans to get together again. In this case, we opted for the latter. We traded phone numbers and promised that we meet up again real soon. You know how that goes.

She may look like a woman
But she's still some daddy's little girl
And I think that she may be
The oldest baby in the world
Yes, I think that she may be
The oldest baby in the world

It’s amazing how much you can find out about a person upon meeting them for the first time if you’re only willing to listen and ask the right questions. I guess everybody has a story to tell no matter what their circumstances might be. Even though I’ve never seen her again, for that one night, I was lucky enough to find them. Who knows, maybe our paths will cross again.

(Note: This is a work of pure fiction and imagination on my part. Nothing like this has ever happened although I’m not done giving up hope just yet.)

Lyrics to The Oldest Baby In The World ©John Prine and Don Fritts

CST Approved

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