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?!
Oh, honey, once again you've brought tears to my eyes. I've known a few couples like this since I started dancing about 17 years ago: Mr. and Mrs. Winegarden, who were as elegant as their name. She was tall and slender, still with the build of the model she was in her youth. She loved to dance (Mr. Winegarden didn't but he loved her so he did it as rarely as he could). She danced the most beautiful Viennese waltz I have ever seen in my life. They had been dancing with us one Friday night and the following morning she went to work in her garden and died suddenly.ReplyDelete
And then there were Mr. and Mrs. Mason. They danced at the Ritz Carlton in Buckhead every Saturday night. They had never had a lesson, just let the music move them in sync and rhythm that had been polished over their 60 years together. We only had dinner with them a few times, so didn't know them as well as we would have liked. But one night they stopped coming to the Ritz, so we guessed what was wrong. We saw Mrs. Mason for the first time in about 5 years last month while we were dancing at a local club. She was out with her children and grandchildren and more beautiful than ever. She won't dance again in this life, but she's still got the love and the memories to hold on to.
Life really does dance on, so join the dance while you can.
This is the kind of thing you have such an eye for, Lucie. Many of us would cast an eye over the elderly couple, think 'how lovely,' and move on. You look, then look more deeply, and follow your instincts to find a heartwarming and inspiring personal history. We don't see this kind of caring often enough beyond the first blush of a relationship. I think beyond the sweetness of the moment is a couple willing to forgive daily irritations and differences to maintain their affectionate bond. So lovely. And just not easy to do... --daaReplyDelete
beautiful thank you love you bunchesReplyDelete
you inspire me look at life through your caring eyes. I hope I don't miss opportunities like that because I am too stressed, or too busy, or just too "into myself." I got to witness true love - sharing the last years of my Mom and Dad's life with them. They always held hands, and every night, before going to sleep, Mom would say to Dad, "move closer" and "don't you ever leave me." And Dad would always reply, "is this close enough?" the, " I will never leave you. You are my sweetheart, now and forever." The entire 11 months after my Dad's passing, my Mom, along with her short term memory loss would say, "your Dad is not gone, he said he would never leave me." And she always believed in her mind that he was on his way home. Little did she know, he was Home... DSMooreReplyDelete
Support hose, orthopedic shoes, a hippie skirt, a hippie shirt a slivery shiny belt and thee. Sounds beautiful.ReplyDelete
I have your outfit order in my closet. Let me know when you need it delivered :>)ReplyDelete
I haven seen this couple dance at the Blue Note Grill and thought the same things you expressed here so eloquently. When I find my true love, I will share your post with him and make sure he understands this is where I expect us to be in 25 years. I hope he shows up soon....ReplyDelete
Thanks again for sharing your beautiful insight.
Amen!! I said AMEN!!!ReplyDelete
Amen: Rhona and Wallace are inspiring.ReplyDelete
I love them and have known them for 25 years, In the 90's I use to go to a night club called Blue Chips in Durham and they came there a lot. In the 2000's I was in a oldies band and they came regularly to our dances. They are truly special.ReplyDelete