Received a box of pictures and memorabilia from the house of my recently deceased aunt. Great reminders of my mother’s family—aunts, uncles, cousins. Two pictures hang heavy in the memory building.
One picture shows me leaning across the dinner table at a restaurant talking to my uncle. I am wearing a blue blazer and a tie that I still wear. So when I say, “I have ties that are older than you,” I have pictures to prove it. I also had a lot more hair, a better mustache and looked like I belonged to an important group. Dude! Twenty-seven years ago. (You may want to request an autographed copy.)
The other picture is in another restaurant—this one not so fancy. It pictures my aunt and uncle. He shows the gaunt look of an old man with Parkinson’s. The words written under the picture come from her. She always wrote in the third person.
“Everett and Fern believed to observe special days in one’s life together in some way—so would drive to Kopper Kettle for April 28—the day they met, their birthdays, their anniversaries for a meal including soup and salad bar there. Senior Citizens Discount.”
“Sweeter as the years go by. Sweeter as the years go by. Richer, fuller, deeper. Jesus’ love is sweeter. Sweeter as the years go by.”
She closes with a scripture reference: Ephesians 3:8.
That picture and note paper will go in my file for my book—Napkin Placement—How I learned to be married. One of the lessons is to celebrate. In their 80s and still celebrating the day they met. The picture of Uncle hurts me. He looks so frail and incapacitated. There is his left hand on his leg—I can see it shaking. I can hear him saying to me after he and I had that conversation over the high class dinner table, “You don’t want to get old.”
In my wildest moment, I would never see that couple as party animals. But, based on her words, they knew the importance of celebration. She sang the payoff of celebrating—sweeter as the days go by.
©2014 D. Dean Benton
Benton Quest House