People often ask me, "What happened to Kirt?" Well, here's the story of how we met and why we parted:

A Love Story

by Dorothy Ainsworth

He was a brawny powerful Viking of a man, with blonde curls, a dimple in his chin, and shoulders so wide he looked like he was wearing football pads. We met at the fitness center. He was easy on the eyes but I didn't allow myself to indulge in more than a fleeting glance to admire a young man's beauty as I would admire anybody's beauty. Little did I know he was thinking the same thing about me, but his glances my way weren't that fleeting.

A Little History:

Son Eric and I jogged together during a health kick phase years ago, and started our 3-mile run from the fitness center every morning. But first we'd go in and do our daily sit-ups and a light workout to warm up before the run.

One day Eric pointed out a young weight lifter in modest garb and said: "See that guy over there? Yeh, the blonde guy in the baggy shirt. He's the strongest guy in here—maybe in the whole Rogue Valley. Watch him sometime; you won't BELIEVE what he can do!". Being an absent-minded scientist and classical pianist, Eric isn't much of a visual person, so I figured if he took notice, then this guy must be spectacular. I had to admit I had noticed him before, mainly because his shoulders were as wide as a doorway. I can't help but admire symmetry and strength, so I watched him now and then out of curiosity.

He was quiet, graceful, self-assured, and moved through his workout every day with discipline and concentration like clockwork. I could tell he was serious about his routine, but certainly not a show-off. Every once in a while I caught him looking at me, and his lingering glances were a little disconcerting, but I continued to feign disinterest, for obvious reasons: he was a college kid. But biology was doing its magic trick—we were both responding to the visual attractions from a distance. I saw an inverted triangle and he saw an hour glass—and spring was in the air.

I got the hint he was interested in me when he kept positioning himself at the weight machine that was closest to the women's locker room door so I would have to bump into him whenever I came out. It was just too coincidental to be accidental.

Being the friendly type, I finally broke the ice and said, "My son says you're the strongest guy in here—maybe in the whole town". He chuckled and said, "Oh yeh? I don't know about that". He was soft spoken but his eyes were dancing, like he wished he knew what to say next but didn't have a clue how to flirt. So I kept it going with my own awkwardness because I too didn't have a clue how to flirt: "Do you work out everyday? Do you go to college?" His replies were: "Yes....Yes...." Then I said, "Well, see you.....gotta go do my jog"....and I ran off, quivering with excitement, but still not believing that this gorgeous hunk was interested. I could feel the vibes, but it was too early to assume anything. I reminded myself of an old quote: "You can be an older man's darling or a younger man's fool," and I didn't want to be a fool.

The next day we accidently on purpose ran into each other again at the locker room door and I said, "Oh, hi" as nonchalantly as I could muster up, and proceeded to go over to the wall to do my leg lifts at the ballet barre. He sauntered over to do bicep curls nearby and we talked between sets.

I finally blurted it out: "How old ARE you anyway?" He shifted from one leg to the other and his broad shoulders swayed from side to side mesmerizing me like a snake as we held eye contact. He said, "Twenty." I giggled in disbelief and said, "Twenty? That's imPOSSible. NOBODY'S only twenty!" Dumb thing to say but I was giddy. He chuckled again but was wise enough NOT to ask MY age. I said: "How did you get this BIG in only 20 years?" Then we both laughed and resumed our workouts.

OK, I was convinced he was smitten; there was no doubt about it. He continued to intercept my path. He was oozing testosterone from every pore and I could feel the heat. But at the same time, he was sweet and had an almost innocent quality about him that made him twice as appealing.

It was April, I was single again, and finally recovered from a terrible heartbreak that had taken a year to get over.

It's in my nature to act or react when my emotions have a mind of their own, even if it's wrong. I was in great physical shape and had more energy than I knew what to do with, so the timing couldn't have been better to meet someone new.

"So now what?" I asked myself. If I leave it up to him to make a move it might not happen for a while—or ever—because I could tell he wasn't sure if I, being older, would be willing to go out with him. He told me later this was true—he WAS afraid to ask and to be rejected. He thought I might laugh in his face, or more kindly say that I already had a boyfriend; he expected the latter.

I'm a Carpe Diem type of gal. I'm not one to wait for anything good if it's in my power to make it happen, so although I was old enough to know better but too young to resist, I nervously sneaked a note under his windshield wiper when I left that day. My non-committal message was: "I'll be working at the Copper Skillet tonight if you'd like to eat dinner at a place that has REALLY great food—Dorothy"

As Murphy's Law would have it, the other waitress called in sick and I was the only one on that night. The place was packed, with a long waiting line and an extreme noise level. My arms were loaded down with full plates and I was rushing around like a sheep dog trying to round up the whole herd—and of course that's when he walked in. I looked up and saw an incredible silhouette barely fitting through the doorway and I almost fainted. It was HIM! I really didn't think he'd come right away; I thought he'd play it cool. I should have known that a 20 year old CAN'T play it cool, especially if an attractive woman (of any age) had given him an invitation.

I don't know how I did it, but I managed to put my waitress-self on auto pilot and make it through the dinner rush and serve him a delicious meal and take his money at the register and as he was leaving say: "I have a hot tub, and I don't live far from here....wanna sit in it under the stars and talk tonight?" He said: "Sure!" and I said: "I get off at 10 o'clock so meet me back here and follow me up to my place... it's only 3 miles." He said: "Great! See you at 10".

When the moment of truth came, I was so shook up I forgot how to drive my old truck—I honked the horn and turned on the windshield wipers and ground the gears before I unintentionally laid a strip of rubber when I finally took off. (Evidently a mature woman can't be cool either.)

He sat in his beautiful red Trans-Am waiting patiently to follow me home—and ultimately to the ends of the earth. I couldn't believe I was on a DATE—with a handsome blue-eyed hunka hunka burnin' love—and as fate would have it—it was the most wonderful date of my life and the most magical night of my life. I was willing to take the chance it might be only one date with him but I was sure it would still be worth it. As it turned out, we would be together for 10 glorious years of unwedded bliss from that night forward.

Too much, too soon? No! I WANTED too much too soon. All my life everything had been too little too late.

Every love is a first love. Suddenly I was 16 years old again—16 going on 46, and Kirt was 20 going on 40. He said he had always felt much older than his years, being the eldest son of a pear orchard dynasty, and laden with responsibility from an early age. He had saved enough money by working in the orchards to pay for his own college education. What was there NOT to like about this endearingly unpretentious guy?


This prince of a man was not an ordinary person in any sense of the word. He would continue to prove how unusual he was with every passing day, and my respect and admiration for him increased with every passing year. He turned out to be a man, who if he hadn't been real, could not be imagined.

It was no accident that Kirt and I had been so attracted to each other. We had almost everything in common but our birth date. I had never had a teen-hood, never dated, never been romanced; I was the family Cinderella through my high school years. Sweet sixteen, never been kissed. Two years after I graduated, I married the first guy who chased me, and had two kids by the time I was 21. Then I worked, and worked, and worked—nothing but work for the next 20 years. Kirt had a similar background and we shared the same values, including the big four: religion, politics, sense of humor, and the work ethic.

I had finally broken free from a one-sided marriage at 30 and started a completely new life at 40. After I ran away to Oregon like the Gingerbread Girl, I had one delightfully charming boyfriend but he was lazy and unambitious, then a heartbreakingly handsome and brooding boyfriend who had an intimacy problem and withheld love—then Kirt.

Kirt was bigger than life in every way—totally healthy, stable, and responsible. He was exceedingly smart, playful, witty, humorous, and protecting—a perfect helpmate and partner. He was good-natured and patient and he reflected back what I mirrored out: sweetness, unjadedness, beauty, laughter, and perpetual springtime love. I always felt like I was the younger woman and he was the older man—hard to believe, but true. We were both ageless for ten beautiful years. He told me daily how lucky he was to have found me, and I felt the same. We were so ridiculously compatible we didn't have even ONE serious argument in all our time together. What I saw was what I got with Kirt; there were no hidden agendas.

But inevitably—as we knew would happen someday—it came to an end. When I went through menopause, biology ruled again. I realized our time was up, our relationship had run its course, so I asked him to leave and go find a younger woman and have a more conventional life—with my blessing. It was a hard thing to do, but the right thing to do. I loved him enough to let him go. I had grown too old to be with a younger man anymore, and he deserved to start a new life and have a family. Kirt was so loyal and devoted he took an entire year to leave. We will be friends in our hearts forever.

There can be no greater love and appreciation than I have for Kirt to this day. I've been alone since, by choice. I was a great one for him to begin with and he was a great one for me to end with.

To describe Kirt in a few words and honor him properly as the man he is—which is more man than most who are twice his age—I would say: "He's all brawn AND all brain, and as legendary in the bedroom as in the forest." He deserves that compliment; he earned it—just being himself.

Kirt is married now and has two young sons, and he's a fantastic father! I'm very happy for him. He now runs the family pear orchard business, and is also a real estate broker in So. Oregon. He still works out as a totally natural bodybuilder, and is tremendously bigger and stronger than ever! Life comes full circle; he just turned 46 (2014), the same age I was when we met.

Me? I am growing old gracefully and gratefully, and life is good.

Our 10th aniversary
Photos of Kirt & Dorothy together by Cynthia Smalley