Thursday, August 02, 2007

You're never too old

In the small village where I live, in the Northern Cariboo, there are two people in their late seventies, Jeff and Harriet. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Jeff was so shy that he could hardly look you in the face to say, “Good Morning”, and that in a voice barely above a whisper. Always impeccably dressed in shirt and tie and aging dark blue suit, he would keep to himself. Jeff had faithfully nursed his ailing wife for many years. She suffered with a mental handicap that made her fearful of going outside her home, and then it was discovered she had cancer. Jeff cared for her through thick and thin, and Flo died in his arms about a year ago. Jeff retreated back into his house, his very shyness made it difficult for village folk to reach out to him.

Harriet is very gregarious, always having people over, making pies and cookies and taking them to newcomers in town, teaching Sunday School and enjoying the outdoor life with her husband Walter. So it came as a sudden and devastating shock 18 months ago when Walter had a stroke and died.

The village rallied around Harriet and the men would take turns shovelling snow or chopping wood for her, and other manly tasks. However there were strict parameters given by Harriet in order for her to feel comfortable receiving this help. She insisted that the men bring their wives because she was concerned for her reputation. She had a peep hole put in her front door so she could tell if there were any men knocking on her door after dark.

When she first told me this I could not help smirking to myself. “Long time since you were a Playboy Centrefold”, I thought. After all most of us in the village are over 55.

Last Thanksgiving, Harriet, as it is her custom, looked around to see who she could invite for dinner, she decided on Jeff, but she was careful to invite others also, who could be chaperones. As a single woman inviting a man into the house just wasn’t done.

I didn’t hear too much of either of them until this Spring when we attended a local yard sale. There they were together, inspecting the goods for sale. Jeff actually extended his hand to my husband and smiled a “Good Morning”. This we felt was real progress.

Ten days ago I went to town and was loading groceries into the truck when I see Harriet across the parking lot. She gestured to me to come over. I should have guessed from her pink, excited face, that something of major proportions were about to be shared.

“Jeff and I are getting married”, she said coyly, a smile practically splitting her face in two.

I was so happy for them, I felt tears come into my eyes. “When are you getting married?”, I asked.

She just brushed it off saying, “We have a few details to tidy up yet, and we have to find a preacher man”.

So yesterday, on the village grapevine, we learned that they had slipped out of the village without telling anyone and got married the very next day.

I was thinking this morning that there would be more than rocking chairs a-rockin' in that little house down in the village tonight. I wish them all the happiness in the world, however long that may be. One is never too old to fall in .


david mcmahon said...

Oh, Vic, what a wonderful tale. Thanks for sharing that with us.

Karen & Mike said...

That's ever so sweet. How lovely that they found each other. I hope they are very happy.

I once nursed a very elderly man with lymphoma. His one wish before he died was to marry and "make an honest woman" out of his long time companion. They had planned a small wedding in the hospital chapel, but one morning, his health began to deteriorate rapidly. I called his betrothed, the chaplain and the florist, dashed out on my lunch break to buy flowers, and that afternoon they had a bedside ceremony and were married. The bride went home to change her clothes, and as soon as she left, the groom died. It was incredibly bittersweet and a day I'll always remember.

The Insane Writer said...

This is soo wonderful. I love stories about young love.. hehe. I've heard soo many people around here tell our older folks that, "you're too old to start over." I say Bullshit. Why stop living life as you get older???? I worked in a nursing home as a CNA. Those were the best times of my life. There were new loves there and I enjoyed hearing about them. Thank You for sharing this with us. It put a smile on my face!

mrsnesbitt said...

How lovely!
I feel all nice and warm inside now!
A great start to my Friday!


Cicero Sings said...

Loved this story.

P.S. My husband only WORKS in W.L. during the fire season ... sub contract work. We live on the 108 ... should you ever want to stop in for coffee on your journey through, let me know!

Jeni said...

You mean there might even be hope for an old so-and-so like me too? Maybe if there were any males here where I live in my age range and single - but well, it's pretty much a desert in that respect here.

Mousie/Paisible said...

oh dear, that's such a beautiful story, really beautiful, made me cry, but good tears...yes we're never to old...I wish them the longest and nicest life...
all my love to all of you...
thank you for the story Vic

RUTH said...

What a beautiful story and what a wonderful community you live in where neighbours help each other as the menfolk helped Harriet. I'm so happy for Jeff and Harriet may they have many years of happiness ahead of them. :o)

Claire said...

Thats is truly a lovely story and i now have a big smile on my face :)

disa said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.