Saturday, December 12, 2015

Love and kindness at life school

Some of the subjects offered at life school
I saw a couple the other day at the supermarket, where I attend life school. 

They were mid-late seventies, although she seemed younger. He wore a cap imprinted with USAF, and he was in a wheelchair. She was dressed simply in a long skirt and sweater. Her hair, which she clipped in the back, was mostly gray with a little blonde. While he wheeled the chair along, she kept her fingers loosely closed around a handle.

They traveled the aisles, stopping when she spotted an item that she wanted to show him. They chatted about dinner.

"Oh, that would be good with..."
"You know, later this week we could have it with..."
"Maybe you could make  that recipe where..."

And so on. 

I'm assuming they were long-married and that this routine was a regular one, spending time at the store, engaged in planning a dinner they would go home and make together.

They were unaware of others unless she needed to wheel him out of someone's way.  
They talked about company they were expecting.  
They shared a story about someone they'd seen last week. 
They commented on the crowd today.

She laughed when he made jokes. He nodded when she spoke, "Uh-huh, that's true." She asked his opinion, "How about," or, "what do you think of..."

I imagined them in their youth. Maybe he was the more outgoing, while she was possibly the quiet one. Maybe he hung around the kitchen while she made dinner, telling stories of his day, and maybe she shared funny moments with their kids. Maybe they engaged in the self-congratulatory boasting that we all do in our own intimate company, when we agree that we are probably the most blessed people on the planet for all we have, all we've done together, and maybe, all we've survived.

I know that life, age, struggle, can weigh people down until it becomes something to deal with, like the days themselves. Conversations, expressions of our minds and hearts, can stall for the effort of launching them. Smiles can creep away, and faces can freeze in a state of half-interest and half-disappointment.  I see it all the time, and so do you.

But if the USAF man struggled to live in and out of that wheelchair, he wasn't bitter in his companion's company.  If his companion was tired, she was gentle, still, in his. One could see, that each looked forward to whatever ritual was in the plans for later, if only the preparation and sharing of dinner. 

It's what we all need, a later.

In line, checking out, she looked around at the day's crowd. The tender expression changed to a watchful one, a bit guarded, slightly puzzled.  But when her companion spoke to her, back it came, the other face, lines relaxed, eyes soft, her smile like a pretty day.  

Love and kindness.

It's what's for dinner, at life school.


  1. I truly loved this post! Thx for sharing (tweeted it also!).

    1. Thank you, Paula! Every time I check out and the cashier says, "did you find everything you were looking for?" I say, "Yes, and more."

  2. Yes the supermarket is Life School. I love that! It seemsI often see some bad behavior at the market so what a treat to observe a loving relationship.

    1. Thank you Haralee. So far, nobody has parted from what they're doing to look at me and say, "Why are you listening to us, like that?" That could be my next post.

  3. How wonderful of you to notice so much about this loving couple. I always thought my husband and I would be like them, someday. Not aging together may be the thing I miss most about James.

  4. It is uplifting to see people treating each other that way into their later decades, and inspiring. I was touched by your comment, thank you.

  5. I love it when you go to life school, almost as much as when you chat with your God.

    1. Thank you DAW. Life school is great because there are campuses everywhere, and tuition is cheap.