I rushed into the store. On a mission. Father’s Day. Gift for Tim and gift for my dad. I worked my way through the crowded, bustling store not wanting to waste any time. I had a mile long to-do list in my head and having recently bought Tim AND my dad birthday gifts, buying another gift just seemed like another thing to check off my list.
I swiped a conservative shirt for my dad from one table. A funky Tee shirt and possibly too cool jeans for Tim from another. I hurried toward the counter to pay, ticking off the other things in my head that I wanted to accomplish on my day sans kids.
And then a roadblock appeared ahead of me.
A couple, about 85 or so years old, shuffled along in front of me. Holding hands. She was carrying 3 or 4 items under one arm leaving the other free to grasp her husband’s. He was hunched over as he walked, supporting himself partly with his wife’s stronger hand and the cane in his other. I walked directly behind them. Feeling the adoration radiating off of them. They arrived at the counter to pay and I overheard the man say to his wife, “So show me what you picked out for me darling.”
One by one she held up two Polo shirts and a pair of Polo shorts with a draw string. He gave the shirts a decisive Thumb’s Up. He looked curiously at the shorts as she held them for him to see and said, “Now would those be pajama shorts or walking-around-during-the-day shorts?”
“Do you sleep in shorts?”
“Not last time I checked. But maybe you think I should?”
“No, there’s no reason for you to change what you sleep in at this point!”
“At this point?” he asked. “That doesn’t sound good.”
He took her hand. Caressed it as it lay on the counter. Her engagement ring and wedding band sparkled between his elderly fingers.
She smiled at him. A “You know what I meant” smile with a little roll of the eyes.
He agreed to her choice of shorts, although he thought they looked like pajamas, and the cashier told her the total of $118.01. She handed him the cash and she and her dear husband both dug in their pockets for the $.01. The salesperson told him that the penny wasn’t necessary but he and his wife vehemently agreed that they were not leaving without giving him the penny they owed.
They laughed at each other as they raced to see who could find the coin first that to most of us is worthless. Finally his fingers found the prize in his back pocket and flipped it onto the counter. “I WIN!” he shouted.
I laughed and gave a little applause behind them.
He turned and winked at me. Still laughing at the fun he had just shared with his wife. That he still was able to have, even “at this point”.
He led her away from the counter, hand in the small of her back and again I overheard his words.
“I have figured out why everyone is always looking at me.”
“Why’s that?” she asked.
“Because I’m with you.”
She stopped. And looked at him.
“Really.” he said. “Look at you. You’re beautiful.”
She blushed and put her arm on his shoulder. She said, “I’m sorry your Father’s Day gift won’t be a surprise.” And then disappeared from my view.
How lucky was this couple to still have one another. To Have and to Hold. To still laugh with one another. Still SEE each other and how beautiful they still were. Even with the hearing aids. The trouble walking. The questionable taste in shorts.
I looked down at what I had chosen for the Fathers in MY life. And realized they deserved more. More thought. For all they do for me. The one who cheered me on when I was little and always told me I was beautiful, and the one who I hope will still look at me in 50 years and tell me how beautiful I still am. Even at “That Point”.