Wednesday, April 21, 2010


OMG. Look at them, I thought. They are sooo cute.

They were slowly walking toward the Whole Foods Market, hand in hand, and every now and again would look at each other with that ooshy smooshy “I’m so in love with you” look. There is something about the zeal and purity of true love that transcends the work and worries of the day.

As I am wont to do, being a writer and all, I waited for an opportune moment to approach them and ask them a few questions.

It didn’t take long. They had sat outside to enjoy some of the fresh fruit and bottled tea they had just bought.

“Good morning,” I said. “I’m a writer and I was hoping I could ask you a few questions. Would that be okay?”

They looked at each other, smiled and almost in unison, said, “Sure.”

“You two seem so much in love,” I began. “How long have you been dating?”

“Dating?” she responded, as they both began to laugh. “Son, we’ve been ‘dating’ since our Junior year of high school but we’ve been married for almost 61 years,” she rather happily said.

“Sixty-one years. Wow, that’s great,” I said. “But you two seem like you just fell in love.”

“I did, son,” he said. “Just this morning. Just like I do every morning. When I wake up each morning, I give God thanks for two things. One, I thank God I’m still alive and then I thank Him that I have one more day with my beloved Hildie.”

“Oh Fred,” Hildie said, in that Wilma Flintstone sort of way.

“Well, it’s true Hildie and you know it,” he said to her. “Look at her, son,” he said to me. “How can I not fall in love with such a beautiful woman with each and every breath I take?” I nodded in polite agreement.

He went on. “She is my sunrise that gently wakes me every morning, giving me warmth and light for the day ahead. She is my dew that refreshes me and prepares me for the day’s growth. She is my shade under a maple tree that cools my brow from the mid-day heat. She is my soothing brook that renews my aching feet after a hard day’s work. She is my cup of tea that refreshes the lips. She is my candlelight that softens whatever harshness I’ve endured during the day and she is my blanket that keeps me warm through the cool night.”

“Oh Fred,” she said again, still in that Wilma Flintstone sort of way. “You’re just getting all poetic again.”

“Does he do that a lot?” I asked her.

“At least once a week,” she said.

“For sixty-one years?” I asked. I tried to do some quick math in my head, but that just wasn’t working.

As if to answer my unasked question, Hildie said, “That’s 3,521 poems he’s written me over the years, and I still have every one. From the first one he wrote on the one-week anniversary of our first date to the one he gave me two days ago.”

I sat there in stunned silence and awe.

“And I cherish each one,” she added. She looked at him, smiled and her eyes sparkled in a way that, were I not sitting across from her, I would have said was ‘shopped (as in a photo manipulated with Photoshop®).

Fred turned to her, smiled, and his eyes glistened with what I can only describe, rather poorly, as a man deeply and profoundly in love. Suddenly I felt very awkward, as if in the middle of something that shouldn’t have a middle.

“Um … Uh,” I stammered. “Thank you for sharing,” I said. “And congratulations.”

I sat in my car, occasionally shaking my head in near disbelief at the thought of someone writing a poem a week, and more, for more than 61 years. And all for the same woman. And she, saving each and every one, treasures as much for her heart as for her mind.

Treasures, I’m sure, that she cherished so deeply in her soul, that when she died and went to Heaven, they would still be there into eternity.

Treasures, I’m sure, that came from so deeply within his soul, he had no choice but to tenderly lay each word upon paper to present to the love of his life.

They expressed a love for each other, so unconditional and unending, that surely no thief could ever steal, no adversary could ever kill, no thing could ever destroy.

Perhaps they found the answer to the eons-old question: What is love?

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