I noticed them as they were walking into the grocery store. His right hand and her left hand were interlocked. He had a bit of limp; she was tiny and seemingly frail. Their steps were slow and methodical. Also on my way into the grocery, I could have easily passed them by, but something made me slow down my steps behind them, as I watched this older couple make their way across the parking lot.
Once inside the store, the lady stepped aside while her husband attempted to separate two obstinate shopping carts. I decided to help, and as the two carts came “unglued” from one another, the older gentleman looked at me and winked, smiled and thanked me for my help. He wheeled the shopping cart over to his waiting wife, and the pair set off on their grocery store expedition.
As I passed the couple in the first aisle (they were going one way, and I was going the other), I noticed they were following a list. My list was in my head (dangerous), but I watched as the lady held her list close to her face and then announced the next item for which they would be searching. I’m not a great judge of age, but I’d say the two were probably in their mid-80s. Together — side-by-side, they both pushed the cart — his right hand and her left hand still interlocked as they grasped the handle of the shopping cart together. Occasionally one of the two would let go long enough to grab something from the shelf, but it didn’t take long for that hand to relocate their spouse’s hand on the handle of the cart.
I was trying to hurry, but each time I went to the next aisle, there they were ... still holding hands. The smiles on their faces were genuine as they chatted between themselves, seemingly oblivious to the rest of the world. His hand on her hand ... her hand on his ... I don’t mind telling you I couldn’t take my eyes off their hands — the way they held on to each other — like they were holding the world in their hands.
In about the fourth or fifth aisle, I watched the fellow take a can of coffee off the shelf, place it inside the shopping cart, grab back on to his wife’s hand and gently reach over and give her a kiss on the cheek. The woman whispered something quietly back to her husband, but then she noticed I had just witnessed the kiss. She blushed. His eyes twinkled.
I had to smile. This couple was absolutely in love, and it made my heart feel good. For some reason — despite their age, I figured they were probably newlyweds ... at least that’s how they were acting. They were almost giddy with one another. Their eyes were full of life and love. They were clearly the happiest people I saw that day in the entire grocery store. Aisle after aisle, I watched them hold on to each other ... Yep, they had to be newlyweds.
Finally, the grocery store saga was about to come to an end. The couple and I both were in the last aisle, trying to decide on a loaf of bread. Leaving their cart to the side, the two stood in front of the bread, still holding hands. It was none of my business, but I had to ask ...
“Excuse me,” I began. “This is none of my business, but can I ask you a question? Are you two newlyweds?” I asked. “You seem so happy. You’ve held hands through the entire store. You both just seem to be glowing. I was thinking you two maybe just got married recently.”
“Newlyweds!” the fellow’s laugh echoed through the aisle, and his wife’s giggle was endearing. “Newlyweds!” he said it again. “Heavens no. We’ve been married for 61 years. That beats all. Newlyweds!” he said, still grinning.
And then he said something that will forever stay with me ...
“We just hold on to each other because we never want to lose each other. I love her more today than I did 61 years ago, for better or worse. That’s the promise I made. Haven’t broken it yet, and neither has she.”
What an inspiration ... Their touch clearly touched my heart.
BCR Editor Terri Simon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bcrnews.tsimon.