The day did not start out as a "can-I-get-an-Amen!" kind of day.
No, more like it started out crooked-needed-to-be righted-and-flipped-upside-down kind of day.
But the afternoon had brought right-side up flipping and now I was working on the Amen part, just not knowing it, or maybe it would be more apt to say the Amen part was working on me.
I walked into the Blue Note Grill and they were the first people I saw.
Her puffy white hair, his Southern or maybe Southwestern casual elegant. I put them at 91 or 92. I've gotten better at assessing age these last years, knowing who was old before their time, aging gracefully, younger than any of us deserve to be with miles well hidden, the like.
I ordered a pinot grigio and a basket of fried pickles. Sweetheart would later explain to me that what made those pickles the good side of incredible was the drying out the pickles before the frying. Water and frying don't mix he'd said. They were extra crunchy and dead-on perfect.
Friday night and we were out, the rare, very rare, very, very, rare Friday night out, or any night out. Not only was I getting wine and pickles but music, good music and it was only 6:30 at night. Talk about blessings piling up.
I waited for him to get there and studied the older couple, my eyes going around the room and constantly back to them. I wondered about their stories, each and shared.
The music started. Sweetheart came. We ate pickles and pondered ribs.
The elderly man reached for his companion's hand and helped her up. He helped her squeeze through the two, too-close tables and when they made it through, she began with effort to shuffle walk, clearly it was difficult. He was there for her to lean on. I thought he must be walking her to the restroom and I thought how sweet.
little did I know.
I looked up from my pickle and there they were.
On the dance floor.
Agile, two-stepping, free as could be.
It was the first of a set-full of dances, the only break they took the last dance, the one for the cloggers and the one that started after their food arrived.
They had danced the slow waltz, a faster two-step, and a few imbetween. They had danced without a falter, without hesitation, without a shuffle. They had transported themselves to another time, to many times, to the place where age and depression, reality and fragility could not find them, to the best of the moment and the best of life.
We were inspired.
Last week I saved an image, thinking how perfect.
I said to sweetheart, "would you take their picture, I want to write this." He said the camera was in the van. He walked out, came back, stopped at their table. They listened, she reached over and took his hands, he pointed at me, she waved, they moved together and smiled for the camera.
I think I hope to God that when I am wearing support hose and those orthopedic-athletic shoes I will have on a hippie skirt, a hippie shirt and a slivery shiny belt. That I will have a modicum of style or grace and mostly, that when I am 90 or better yet sooner, better yet now, I will have enough spunk, courage, rhythm and desire to find my damn way around a dance floor.
He came back to me. "Twenty five years they've been together."
"Second marriage you think or third?"
He said, 'it doesn't matter, 25 years."
"We are almost there," I said.
He looks at me, his eyes a little glossy and mine were right-back glossy.
He says they'd told him, "you never know when it will be the last dance.
So every week we have a date night and we dance.
You never know when it will be the last dance."
No saving the last dance for them, just dancing it.
We looked at each other and Sweetheart said,
"We should all hope to be there when we are there."
Can I get an AMEN?!