April 30, 2010

Gracefully Aging

Last night, during one of the warmer nights of the season, I offered to take the kids for ice cream after dinner. The local ice cream shop is operated by a family we know, so any excuse to go there is a good one.

When we got there, the drive through line was about 10 vehicles deep so we decided to go in. I'm really not quite sure I ever want my life to move so rapidly that I cannot pause to order ice cream.

We placed our orders as I glanced around the parlor. I noticed an elderly lady, thick knit cardigan on, polishing the last of a sundae. I was impressed that she could finish an entire Peanut Buster Parfait, but there was a slight stab in my heart that she was there alone. I didn't want to stare, but I couldn't help but glance at her table from time to time.

Within a moment or two, her elderly companion joined her and she handed him the last bit of the sundae which he finished with gusto. Then he slowly stood up and picked up her jacket, holding it delicately to put over her sweater laden shoulders. They threw out their single sundae and headed to the car.

What seemed to be an ordinary moment caught my attention. You see, that is where beauty lies. Not in the extraordinary, but in the ordinary. First, I felt silly for being surprised to see elderly at an ice cream parlor. I don't know why people would like ice cream any less as they age. In fact, it's a treat that has no age discrimination. Second, I got a craving for the same sundae she had. Third, I was charmed by the simple chivalry in his behavior and their slow routined pace to their car, where they were met by a small fluffy dog.

I didn't mean to stare. I really didn't. I hope they didn't notice. I just couldn't help but feel in awe of the simple, basic, everyday love and affection they shared.

I ordered the same sundae, incidentally.


  1. ...and now I feel it too. That was wonderful. Thank you so much.

  2. But what would be sad about her eating a sundae alone? I am a white haired lady, I've been alone now nearly half my life. I eat in restaurants alone and when I feel like a slice of pizza or a sundae or whatever, I am apt to go alone to enjoy it. This is not sad, this is living independently and enjoying whatever I choose to enjoy.

  3. June, you make a lovely point. I'm a little overy sentimental. Tomorrow is the anniversary of my grandfather's passing (who was my grandmother's other half for 70 years...) my impressions are clouded by that memory. Please accept my applause, not sadness. You remind me to look past my own nose...

  4. It's easy to reverberate at the sight of someone or something that triggers memories, sometimes when we don't even recognize them at the time. And it's equally easy for others to read our descriptions of said events quite differently. Thanks for a lovely post.

  5. Hi Kim, this is a lovely post, and I thank you for sharing it. I've had similar moments of observation. Earlier this year, my husband and I ate at the Village Gardens in the Falls when I noticed a couple similar to the one described in your post. The way the gentleman looked at his wife made me want to cry because love is so beautiful. Love is what it's all about, when you get right down to it. There's not enough of it going around so anytime it can be spotted or felt is a gift. Thanks again!

  6. You can't beat a Peanut Buster Parfait, Kim!


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