Saturday, October 10, 2009

When Different Can Mean Happy

Visiting a friend in the hospital recently, I approached the volunteer desk to double-check the room number. One of the women was about my age-in her case with smooth, lovely skin, pretty features and simply cut silver hair. Pretty. Not pretentious. Not particularly conscious of her "presentation", wearing her volunteer jacket and serving her shift. Oh--and her clothing? Ordinary.

We fell into conversation, and she mentioned her husband is 97, blessed with good eyesight hearing and an active mind, but with declining knees.

"We are blessed," she said.

I grinned. "He must have done some cradle-robbing to get you," I said, because this lady was nowhere near her 90s. (Although lately, I've been fooled a few times).

She gave a rowdy laugh. "He sure did! He's 31 years older than me. We've been married 33 years."

Here smile reflected contentment and pleasure at the unexpected longevity of her marriage.

There's a story there. A good one. She was in her 30s, he in his 60s when they married. A love match. She may have been dropdead gorgeous, but she just doesn't have the moves of a woman who counted on it or traded on it. She still loves his personality, sooooo? Maybe he was, or is, very rich. But she was out in public not dressed like it.

I remember the couple I approved for an adoption where she was 26 years older than he. I remember neighbors with the same dynamic. In both cases, the relationships involved equable relationships. Really good ones. Like this woman and her much older husband.

Individuals still defy the cookie cutter systems of categorizing.

I'd love to know the story of the hospital volunteer. I don't need to, though. It's validation everytime I hear about folks who are leading good lives outside any mass demographics. The more we get along with different lives and voices, the better. In a chorus, it's called harmony.

"They" don't all have to be like "us", thank gooness.