Recently, Tom and I went out for lunch. The restaurant choice was easy. We both said, “Cracker Barrel” almost at the same time. One can always depend on their food to taste good; never any surprises at Cracker Barrel. Only downfall is I always like to take a quick look at the merchandise in their store. While I shop, Tom pays the bill and heads for the rocking chairs out front. We’ve got it down to a science.
About halfway through our meal, an elderly gentleman was seated at the table next to us. I saw him walk in. His steps were a little wobbly. He was alone. Finishing our meal, the waitress brought my walker to me. She had placed it by the fireplace, out of everyone’s way.
As I was pushing my walker past this fellow, he asked, “How do you like that thing?” I answered, “It’s sort of a pain to get in and out of the car, but using it means I can walk without falling. If I get to a point where I can’t stand, I turn it around and plop down on the seat. It’s pretty handy.”
He gave a little wave toward the empty chair opposite him and said, “She always wanted me to get one.” I assumed he was talking about his wife, but his comment made me wonder if his wife was deceased or just not able to accompany him to lunch. I wasn’t quite sure what to say.
Taking the safe route, I asked if he would like to try my walker on for size. He declined saying, “That’s really nice, but I’ll wait for her. She likes to pick out my stuff.”
He had a few questions, so we discussed insurance coverage and where he could purchase one. Then he announced with confidence, “I think I’m going to get one as soon as she gets home from her trip.”
Politely, I asked if she would be home soon. His answer surprised me. “She will be home on Sunday. She is eighty-two and on her way to Washington. She and our daughters are participating in the Women’s March tomorrow.”
Not wanting to discuss politics, I just said, “Wow.” His face lit up with the biggest smile as he went on to talk about how proud he was of her for wanting to be a part of the March. “She’s always been a little feisty. One of the reasons I love her.”
“If I had one of those walkers, I think I would have gone with her to offer my support.”
As I told him how lucky he was to have a marriage that obviously was filled with love and respect, he just beamed. He asked how long Tom and I had been married and when I told him almost fifty-three years, he smiled again. “Then you know what I’m talking about.”
As I said goodbye and took my leave, I found Tom waiting patiently outside. For years, I have been accused of being able to talk to a rock. The accusation is pretty accurate. I make no excuses because having short conversations with nice people is fun.
I’ll never know his name. Pretty certain I will never see him again. But, that little 15-minute encounter made my day. What a joy to see a husband’s eyes light up with love and respect for his wife of sixty-one years. I bet she knows how lucky she is.
Ending on a Positive Note: How lucky am I to have a husband that understands the enjoyment I get from talking to a few “human rocks” every now and then.