Wake up call of the day

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”.



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30 responses to “Wake up call of the day

  1. Oh my God, Becca. You told such a beautiful story so perfectly. I truly have tears in my eyes right now. How sweet. I hope that Hubby and I will still have a fire that strong when we reach their age.

    I usually grumble about old people and knew exactly how you felt at first by getting slowed down behind the elderly couple. How amazing that you got to witness this couple’s true love for each other. This really struck me. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. This is the best thing that I’ve read all day. You just made me stop and think about how hubby and I were when we first started dating and how we are now. I think we need to bring back hand holding. It’s so simple yet it speaks volumes.

  3. Oh my goodness. What a lovely, lovely story.

  4. This totally made me cry big crocodile tears.

  5. This is such a beautiful story. I love it. Thank you for sharing it.

  6. Me too. Tears. Beautiful story wonderfully told. Thank you, B!

  7. Such a beautiful moment.

  8. Goosebumps and tears. Amen. Beautifully told, Becca. Brava!

  9. I’m all bleary eyed… this was so sweet and touching. Thank you for this.

  10. I am freaking BAWLING over here! What a testament to love. Thank you for sharing such a sweet moment of your day with us.

  11. Aww..this is very, very sweet. Love seeing old couples holding hands. Gives me hope..

  12. What a beautiful story. I have a couple in my neighborhood like that. What an example they are to me.

  13. I, too, am teary. “I’ve figured out why everyone is looking at me. Because I’m with you.” Oh wow. Thank you for this lovely, lovely reminder of the tenacity of love.

  14. What a lovely and all too uncommon thing to witness!

    We should all be so lucky, despite questionable tastes in menswear ;)!!

    Thank you for sharing this so beautifully, Becca!

  15. Wow! That totally made my day. You told this wonderful story so well. Thank you for sharing!

  16. Absolutely beautiful!

  17. Being privy to a lot of end of life stuff I often see the dearest exchanges between people though often one sided. I am a little envious that you got to see such an exchange of love under happy circumstances! And so happy that you were in a place to realize what a great story you were witness to and have it affect you so positively. Happy Father’s Day to your favourite guys!

  18. Seriously, my heart is in my throat. Wow. Just wow. Thank you for sharing this. Wow again.

  19. What a great story and wonderful reflections. Yah it made me cry.

  20. I was reading this on the bus this morning, trying so hard to keep my cool and not let the tears fall. Beautiful post! It touched my heart and made me smile.

  21. ck

    I want that. For the rest of my life.

    What an wonderful post.

  22. Thank you! Love like that ripens and grows, doesn’t it? I have a picture of my grandparents in their 70s, eyes dancing with love. Oh, I hope this still young love of mine gets to age and twinkle.

  23. Pingback: Alli 'n Son » Blog Archive » Fave Links This Week

  24. What an absolutely beautiful thing to witness. I do so hope that Dan and I make it there. I love the idea of growing old together and knowing each other so well, for so long, that we share such extraordinary ordinary moments like these some day!

  25. This is the sweetest thing I’ve ever read. How lucky are those two?

    I need to remember this story while I’m bitching about the kids leaving home.

    In the beginning and in the end it is about the love between two partners.

  26. Oh wow. This is tremendously important. A “I want that!” moment.

    In many ways, we can make that happen. It’s about the choices we make in how we interact with our husbands. I know, easier said than done. (Revelations that I need to remember.)

  27. This makes me want to grab my husband and hold on tight, hoping we have all those years to spend together looking for the last shiny penny. What a heartbreaking and heartwarming post, all in one.

  28. Beautiful observation. That is what I want when I grow old. It’s nice to be reminded of the path I want from time to time. This post brought tears to my eyes.

  29. It is late. I’m in a hotel by myself on a work trip. It’s been a long day because our flight was canceled and we had to drive from Point A to Point B. And… I needed this.

    What a lovely moment you witnessed. Thanks for sharing it and reminding us what true and enduring love looks like. I love your blog for posts like this. Simply perfect, Becca.

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