When you get inked at 61 (by: Madeline Ruehlicke)



Editors note: After years of listening to my Mom debate whether or not to get a tattoo, I was shocked & stoked when she called to say she’d finally done it – & when she gave me all the behind-the-scenes deets, I felt so inspired by how, as per usual, she made such a normal experience all her own & ever-unique.

Wow, I have never written a blog before, and after you read this, you will know why and will probably also think ‘don’t quit your day job’.  Our daughter is the writer in the family and I often marvel at her use of words and the way she can capture a thought or a feeling in such a poignant, important way.

Anyway, I have been thinking, for years, about getting a tattoo.  I wanted to get a small black cross on my neck.  Like most things, I talk ad-nauseam about doing something before I actually do it  (if I even get that far!) It kept staying with me though, and I just couldn’t put it out of my mind.  I am a Christian and I wanted to mark myself as such; it just felt important to me even though I know it is a very personal choice for everyone and certainly not a requirement.

I stewed and stewed about this and was very much influenced by the thought that it would ‘hurt’.  My kids told me “Mom, you could never handle a tattoo; you would just scream”, to which I readily agreed. (editors note: sorry Mom)

Sometime later, I was getting an ear piercing in my fav. town of Ingersoll and shared this insight with the piercer. He heartily disagreed  (I liked him right away!)   I continued to ponder this – especially since I already  knew of a fantastic tattoo artist in Ingersoll who was highly regarded AND who also had a heart for teens and mental health (which is very close to my heart).

A week ago, I saw a client who commented on my piercing and said ‘next time I see you you will probably have a tattoo”!  At that moment, it just felt ‘right’; I knew now was the time.  I called said tattoo artist the next week and lo and behold, despite having a ten month waiting list, they had just gotten a cancellation for the very time I was requesting.  The lovely woman voiced her wonder at this and I just knew, ‘yeah, this is right’.

I continued to pray about this as I did not want to be a ‘nut’ or look like some weirdo and thought I would just see how it all unfolded.  On the way there, I got lost (they had moved their location) and I thought if I don’t find it, it must be a sign!  Well, sure enough I got there and his wife was waiting outside for me as she knew I may have had difficulty finding their location and wanted to welcome me.

I was greeted so warmly and escorted to the ‘tattoo chair’ (scary!!!) and out came Ned. He was equally welcoming and kind.  In discussing what I wanted and where (just under my right ear), he told me that he had just become an ordained minister!!  I knew I was in the right place.  Still, it was such an odd location for the tattoo and I knew it might hurt. I shared this with Ned (of course I did). He told me that he did each tattoo with love and that they don’t hurt so much – and you know what? It didn’t!  As a matter of fact, he had to tell me when he was done.  What!!!!  I thanked him profusely and asked him ‘how much?’  to which he replied “It’s on me; it’s a gift”.

It sure was.

I protested and he continued to assure me that ‘it was on the house’.  Wow!  I still made a ‘donation’ but I have no idea how much tattoos cost (still don’t).

I now have a very tiny black cross under my left ear.  I love it. Thanks Ned, Lisa and Barlow (the ear piercer) for your gifts, encouragement and love.

I now have a ‘tat’ at 61.  Who knew.




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