We Hope To Enjoy a Few More

The other night my family went out to dinner. Shortly after we were seated, the hostess ushered an elderly couple to the booth adjacent to our table. The gentleman pushed his wife in a wheelchair, helped to gently lift her thin frame into the booth, folded the wheelchair, and then wheeled the chair to the waiting area to clear the restaurant aisle. When he returned, he carried a cushion that he tucked between the wooden back of the booth and his wife's back.

I didn't want to stare, but I couldn't help but notice that her hands visibly shook as she held her utensils. I was somehow happily surprised to see that she ordered a rack of barbecue ribs -- a full rack, at that. He ate a hamburger. They talked quietly, and I noticed how they both periodically looked over at our kids, smiling as my youngest daughter held up an especially long French fry as it were something really special, and my middle daughter pretended to bite it in mid-air and snatch it from her dangling grasp.

When we left the restaurant, I felt the urge to stop at their table and say something, even though I didn't quite have the words to express that I somehow felt drawn to them, their togetherness, their collectively kind demeanor, their decision to order ribs and a burger.

So, instead of eloquently articulating any of those thoughts, I offered a friendly, if generic, greeting, and told them I hoped they were enjoying their meal. Then I tacked on, "How long have you been married?"

The man smiled and said, "Sixty seven years."

But it was his next sentence that made the entire night worth it: "And we hope to enjoy a few more."

We hope to enjoy a few more.

That's one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard. 

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