Trying to arrive a little early to beat the lunch hour traffic, we apparently misjudged. The line snaked ahead of us in seeming endlessness. My husband and I hoped to renew our car tags before the beginning of June; but at the slow pace of the moving line, we were unsure it would happen. We tried to pass the time by chatting with each other but suddenly realized a willing participant lurked nearby. I don’t know if one of us spoke to her first, or if she spoke to us. A wizened little thing wearing a hairnet, the charming woman stood less than five feet and proudly told us her age—77. She claimed that her sons expected her to do everything for herself as long as she was able and that their expectations were keeping her young.
She went on to brag about her sons and grandchildren. They just make her heart swell. She said, “I never cry when I think about Jim Hutton. I think about the five fine sons he left me and all the funny things he said and did.” She also told us about the minister who wanted to marry her after her husband passed away. She felt honored but had to break it to him easy: “I’m still filled with love for Jim, and I always will be.” Her expression said it all.
Jim met her when she was twelve and married her five years later. He taught her how to drive a motorcycle, and they rode side by side. When my husband asked her if it were a Harley, she said, “Oh, no. It was just red.” She said she always did things Jim wanted to do because they were fun things, but she refused to learn how to pilot an airplane. That wasn’t in her.
She told my husband that if he were to go before me, she could see from my smile that I’d be saying the same kind of nice things about him that she was saying about Jim and feeling the same kind of thoughts.
Let’s hope we all remember the wonderful impact our loved ones have on our lives. Thank you, little spunky lady in the hairnet.