Wednesday, May 19, 2010

a dozen times a day

George was in bed watching Rachel Ray on TV when I walked into his room.  "Are you learning how to cook?" I teased him.  "No"  he laughed.  "She's an energetic young thing, and she makes the food look good, but it's just too much work."  He pushed mute and I sat down to chat.

George was born on a nearby farm in 1929.  When he was a young boy, his dad would bring him into town and give him a quarter.  With strict instructions never to cross the road, George would spend the day alone wandering in and out of shops, watching people, and ponder what to buy with his whole quarter.

In 1951 George left Spartanburg for the first time.  His army unit was headed for Korea.  During their layover in New Jersery plans somehow changed.  Before he knew what was happening their group was rerouted to Frankfort, Germany. "That was some luck" George muses.

In two years George was back home, this time as a working man.  One night his cousin called.  "I have a date, and just found out she has a friend over.  Will you come too?"  The friend was a girl named Dottie.  George was immediately smitten.  While his cousin drove up and down nearby roads ("there was really nothing else to do around here back then") Dottie and George sat in the back seat and talked and talked.  They have been inseparable ever since.

Eleven days ago they had their 55th anniversary.  It was a big todo with their three children, their seven grandchildren, their church friends, and other retired couples in their neighborhood.  There was a little wedding cake and lots of flowers.  After all this time George still thought Dottie was beautiful, and Dottie still thought of George as the handsome military man sweeping in to save her from the dulldrums of the farm.

The next day, still worn out from the party, George and Dottie decided to eat out.  George ordered oysters.  And ended up with the worst food poisoning of his life.  Dottie called for an ambulance and George could hear the sirens coming.  Then he saw Dottie slump to the floor.  George couldn't stop vomiting as rescue workers rushed in and took Dottie in his ambulance.  Soon another one arrived for him and George was rushed to the emergency room. 

They both survived that night!  Dottie had had a stroke that paralyzed her left side, including her lips, so she has to really work to enunciate.  She is recovering in a restorative care facility a block from the hospital. George was miserable for two days, then quit throwing up.  But during his tests a mass in his stomach was discovered.  He was admitted to the hospital for further tests and surgery.

It has been ten days since they've seen each other.  Trapped in hospital rooms in neighboring buildings, worried about the other as their kids run back and forth between them with reassurances.  "I've never gone this long without her," George admitted, his eyes getting red rimmed and watery. "Even when we are rattling around our house I go looking for her a dozen times a day."

I clutch my wishing I had magic powers.  All I have is this promise:

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am The One.  I am The One who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.   Isaiah 46:4


  1. Aw, so sweet! Maybe you could borrow a video camera and video their messages to each other! M6

  2. Such a sweet story. I want to grow old with my love.