I was wandering around in the grocery store the other night, having a conversation with myself about what I still needed to get. I glanced over and spotted an older gentleman looking at me oddly. Assuming that my conversation was no longer just in my head, I flashed him an embarrassed grin and vowed, once again, to stop talking to myself in public.
To my surprise, the man swung his motorized scooter around in front of me, and stopped abruptly, startling a laugh out of me. He gave me a crooked smile, then told me that I looked like a nice lady and asked if I could help him. Being the nice lady that I am, I told him that of course I could.
He handed me a greeting card and said that he had forgotten his reading glasses. He was wondering if I would read the verse inside to him. It was for his wife of 57 years and he wanted it to be just right for her. I laughingly told him that he had asked the wrong person, as I couldn’t see worth beans either, while I fumbled inside my purse, feeling for my readers. Then I read the words paired together with the lovely drawing on front of the card.
It was one of those sappy poems so many cards contain. I paused in my reading and glanced at the man. He sat with his eyes closed, nodding his head in agreement, just listening. As I handed the card back to him, he choked out that it was perfect, thanked me for my time and sped away.
Our chance meeting lasted only a moment. However, it has stayed with me. The man reminded me so much of my grandfather. A gentle, kind man who was searching for the perfect words to tell someone else how much he did, and always had, cherished them.
My thoughts went toward my own husband. Shaun and I aren’t really the sentimental types. We rarely even give each other cards. If, on the rare occasion we do, it would lean more towards the humorous type, likely with puppies on it.
Yet, I know that my husband adores me. He may not give me romantic cards or roses every week. But he is always thinking of me. He shows it in the little things he does.
This last week he has been out of town. The first couple days were nice. No one to steal the blankets from me, no one to tell me endless dumb jokes or rile up the dogs. Just peace and quiet at last.
Then I realized that I was missing all those little things that come only from him. Things like the trash bag I set outside the door magically disappearing. The goofy jokes or links to strange videos that he always sends me during the day. The quick phone calls snuck in-between meetings or on the way to lunch. The knowing glances, and private jokes that we share. Big comforting hugs and sweet kisses. Little things that let me know that I am being thought of. I know that I am cherished.
Still, I amuse myself with the thought of Shaun in thirty or so years. He’ll be zipping around some store in his scooter, startling strangers and asking them help him find the most adorable greeting card, with the most ridiculous punch-line ever, for his wife of 57 years. I can’t help but wonder what they would think.
That poor stranger.