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.

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