Finding the Fountain of Youth – A Short Story
Mrs. Issacs was something of a treasure hunter. She frequented antique shops, garage sales and flea markets finding important ornaments for her home. After Mr. Issacs passed on, her weekend excursions had become less of a diversion and more of a hobby. And she had a knack for it. At Karen’s Treasures in Keyport she found a necklace from the lost crown jewels of King John. It was obviously the real deal – treasures always turn up in port towns by the water. At Summit Antique Center closer to her original home in Morristown, New Jersey, she found a dusty, brass lamp. The Arabian artifact would have to forgo a polishing rub; she was not prepared to pick three wishes just yet. From Village Antiques & Village Collectibles in Succasunna, Mrs. Issacs bought an iron horseshoe that she suspected was smithed by Saint Dunstan himself. This she hung above her porch door for good luck.
When she hosted her friends for tea, they would comment kindly on her rare finds, but always question their origins. “Surely it’s a replica,” they would protest. Mrs. Issacs would smile and simply shrug to change the subject. There was no use in convincing doubters. The facts were what they were. At an upscale restaurant in town, she wore her necklace and was immediately sat at a window seat overlooking the water garden. She could not have scored such a seat without her royal adornment. Later, when the flu was going around her lakeside neighborhood, she was the only one who remained healthy. You think her lucky horseshoe didn’t have something to do with that?
As her collection grew, Mrs. Issacs had come to an important realization. Her home, and everything in it, was getting to be too much upkeep for a single gal such as herself. She spoke with her children and concluded to move to an active adult community in Delaware where the taxes were low, and the history was abundant. Noble’s Pond would be perfect for her – treasures always turn up by the water, pond or otherwise.
Upon arriving in Dover, Mrs. Issacs set her priorities to locating local antique shops. Sweet Memories along US 13 was her first and only stop of the day. She browsed the shop’s shelves, carefully picking up each item, turning it, and placing it down before moving on. When she had scrutinized the entire assortment, she asked the girl behind the counter if there was any more to see. The girl looked up from her phone, nodded, and pointed toward the door outside. “We have some stuff out there if you care to take a look.” Mrs. Issacs did care, and she did take a look.
There it was. There could be no mistake about it. Made of aged limestone, it was a pillar in the middle of an octagonal basin. Though empty now, you could still see the mark from where coveted mineral water stood, pumped through the pillar and poured back into the basin. Yes, this was it. The Fountain of Youth. She returned to the counter, told the girl she had made her selection, and paid for the fountain and its delivery. It would be her new home’s first treasure, a perfect addition to her front yard.
Mrs. Issacs’s first few weeks in the new community confirmed the authenticity of her latest find. The neighbors to the right asked her to join the Ladybug Garden Club; she had been active in a similar such club when her children were in high school. The neighbors to the left invited her to lunch; laughter under their covered patio brought back memories of carefree days. Another Noble’s Pond neighbor suggested she come for water aerobics at the pool. The buoyancy of her new workout seemed to strip years off her joints. The activities and amenities at Nobles Pond returned a certain sense of youth and adventure to Mrs. Issacs’s routine. Each time she left her home for a club meeting, aerobics class, or social gathering at the clubhouse, she gave a nod to her fountain. For she had indeed found the greatest treasure of them all, and she was grateful. Today Mrs. Issacs, donning a blue sundress, leather strapped sandals and a floppy hat probably once worn by the great Audrey Hepburn, prepared for the day’s events. She was going on a group trip to Rehoboth Beach, just an hour away, with her collection of new-found friends. She tipped her oversized hat to the fountain as she passed – after all, treasures always turn up by the water.