My 95 year-old grandmother recently dropped her 96 year-old boyfriend because he didn't bother to vote in this year's presidential election.
She said she could put up with "boring" dinner conversations that made her want to go to bed early, something she rarely does, his inability to cut a mean rug on the dance floor, and his not very cultured taste in food and the arts. But she said that not voting took the cake, and made her want to throw one at him, as well.
Living for decades in a Republican neighborhood of Orange County where her father bought fields of fragrant orange groves in the 1920's, and originally from Oklahoma where her father was a newspaper publisher and editor, 95-year-old Anna Lee has seen and experienced a lot, but she has always remembered to vote.
She lived through the depression; through several wars, a difficult divorce from her first husband during the 1950's, attended art school, and became a top-notch antique clothing, car and doll collector with her second husband, who passed away more than 20 years ago.
Since then, she has traveled by herself all over the world, still cooks pot roast dinners and eats chocolate every day, shops for Ferragamo shoes with matching purses and plays golf with the boys.
And of course, there's the matter of her boyfriend she has just kicked to the curb, right next her rows of healthy cabbage roses of every hue and color.
She had been complaining about him for awhile since the initial first honeymoon dating season had come and gone. This was her second boyfriend in three years, but who's counting?
At first she had been flattered that he had chosen her over all of the other elderly ladies who were much younger than her by a decade or two.
She said to me, "What's there not to like?" After all, she does look great in a bathing suit and cute Esther Williams style cap, and at 95, she claims to be the best catch at the swimming pool where she does her daily spa exercises.
She says her secret is that she is "just herself" and that men just can't seem to keep away from her.
Some of her friends have become jealous and ignore her since she won the heart of this dashing man; the Don Juan of the Senior Center.
When I became excited about the possibility of Barack Obama as president of the United States, I was not sure what her opinion of him might be as her political views I thought had always leaned to the right.
After all, she had always reminded me of the Town and Country set who might dine and have tea with the likes of Nancy Regan or Martha Stewart. She is even a proud member of the society group 'Daughters of the American Revolution.'
Ever since I can remember, I had admired her perfectly matched designer outfits, her mink stole furs in the closet, coifed blonde hairdo, her Chanel No. 5 Perfume scent, and the canary yellow convertible Jaguar she drove through town well into her late eighties with flowing Grace Kelley-esque scarves.
When she told me one day about how great Obama would be for the country and "so much better than Bush," I was more than pleasantly surprised.
This elegant, smart and cultured woman from my father's side was passionate when she spoke about him and said, "Won't it just be great to finally have someone in the White House again who is actually smart and has some class?"
Last night during a phone call to the grandma everyone says I inherited my flirtatious genes from; she told me that it is "definitely over" now between her and the latest boyfriend because he "couldn't be bothered to vote."
I asked her if maybe she wasn't being too hard on the poor fellow as he just broke his hip a few months before and that maybe it was just too difficult for him to think about politics.
"There's no excuse," she said. "He could have voted by mail, this was important. I told him I was really mad at him. This would have made things better for all of us."
"Thanks Grandma," I said. "Thanks for being the great role model you have always been."
If I am only lucky enough to live to be 95 and energetic enough to have a 96 year-old boyfriend, I only hope that I also still have the chutzpah and good sense to break up with him on moral grounds.
And as she said, "It's better to be alone and know you did the right thing then to be with someone who doesn't now the difference."