“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do and something to hope for.” –Tom Bodett
This past weekend I was out with some friends. We started our afternoon by playing bingo and engaging in a little “day drinking” After twelve rounds of bingo we decided to stop at Indeed Brewing Company in Northeast Minneapolis to have some beers.
We were enjoying our drinks, laughing and having a good time when my friend taps my shoulder and says “that is the cutest thing ever” as she points out an elderly couple sitting to our left. Now, let me set the scene for you…Indeed Brewing Company is situated in an up and coming neighborhood of Minneapolis and the building itself is very old. It has been refurbished with a modern yet retro vibe with a mixture of pale brick and vivid burnt orange walls perfectly trimmed with wood. Cement flooring and an open ceiling give the small space an industrial vibe. The music is loud and the clientele overall is hip and trendy with a few exceptions here and there.
Which makes a nice segue into our story. I do as instructed by my friend and look to my left; I see a man and a woman that I would guess are between the ages of 80 and 90 years old, respectively. As I watch them (as subtly as possible) I am endeared by the way they are with each other.
He brings over their two glasses of brew and she so sweetly picks up his glass before her own to sample his beer. He slides onto the bench beside her rather than across from her and in perfect synchronization, she crosses her legs and he gently places his hand on her thigh and they look at each other as they begin their hushed conversation amidst the young and vibrant crowd that surrounds them. They seem so incredibly comfortable with one another, which can only come from years of familiarity.
Even though they appear to be completely out of place in the environment they show no signs that they are ill at ease. But she stuns me next by pausing their conversation ever so briefly to pull a gemstone-cased iPhone out of her purse and “check in” on Facebook. It is so amazing to me that a woman her age would even know what an iPhone is and what’s even more surprising to me is that she has Facebook. At this point I am utterly fascinated by these two and I can’t help but wonder what their story may be.
I see a life that has been full of both joy and hardships. Courtship followed by marriage, making ends meet, the purchase of their first house, maybe a separation due to war, children that are now grown, illnesses, bills, grandchildren starting new families, great-grandchildren in school plays and t-ball. I see happy birthdays, celebrated anniversaries and holidays soaked in love. I’m sure they have had struggles beyond my comprehension and they have known a love that will last until death parts them. These are all assumptions on my part of course but there is something about the couple that feels weathered, it is obvious that the two of them have shared a life together.
Individually they have both lived long lives, which is apparent in their ages. Unfortunately, most people their age are tired and cranky; they ache and have medical issues in abundance. They have very little patience anymore and so seldom do they ever embrace technology. But these two clearly have a zest for life to be their age and out on a Saturday night together, drinking beer with a crowd far younger than them, instead of staying home and falling asleep watching Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy or whatever it is the old people are watching these days.
They are not just sitting silently somewhere waiting to die. They’ve embraced the modern world in a dignified and appropriate way, they have not given up and stopped living instead they are thriving. And I can’t help but imagine a new life goal for myself, my own parents have been married for over thirty-five years, my grandparents have been married close to sixty years, and while that is indeed inspiring it is somehow these two total strangers that have sparked a sense of urgency within me to establish this type of life filled with love and progression.
Since I became completely consumed with watching the two of them I almost missed the conversation going on at my own table. My attention is brought back to my friends, who have been together for over ten years, when one says to the other, “that’s gonna be us in forty years.” I smile to myself since I’ve just discovered that I am not the only one who has been charmed by the older couple to our left.