Thursday, September 22, 2011


Her name was Nancy. One might describe her as fragile, age having taken control over her petite frame. With her mane of snow white hair pulled into a neat bun and the pallor of her ivory complexion, she was delicate, like fine porcelain. Out of sync was the GPS tracker that circled her ankle like a bracelet.

We were celebrating a beloved relative’s birthday when she casually strolled to our table and came to a stop. She had wandered from her family’s side, strolling through the restaurant to investigate the offerings on other people’s plates. She smiled sweetly, the gesture illuminating her face and brightening the moment. We smiled back in greeting.

My dinner companion asked her how she was doing. The melodic tone of his deep voice drew her attention from the strawberry shortcake that sat table center. Her smile brightened even more as she nodded.

“I’m learning,” she said, her voice barely a soft whisper.

“Learning is good,” my friend replied.

By then her husband had moved to her side, gently taking her hand into his. He met our collective gazes and mouthed an apology for the intrusion.

“Nancy, dear,” he said softly, “Come back to the table. Everyone wants to talk to you.”

For a brief second she looked confused, unsure of the man’s intentions and then her smile returned, recognition seeping into her eyes. She laughed softly, her head bobbing with excitement.

“Frank!” she said, clutching tightly to his fingers.

“Yes,” he said as he led her back to her seat. “Come with me, dear,” he intoned as he lifted her hands to his lips and kissed the back of her fingers.

“Enjoy your dinner,” I said to the couple.

We all watched as they made their way back across the room. My friend and I smiled.

We were all learning.

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