It was a December afternoon in the busiest retail store in town.
Although a line began to form along her counter, the store clerk was seemingly unfazed. Her sole attention was focused on the older couple in front of her, who were having some trouble with their credit/debit cards. As many older couples who keep their finances separate but their lives together, this couple was splitting the cost of the groceries and cat food in the basket. It appeared the cats were going to dine more royally than their human caretakers.
Customers began to shuffle their feet and try not to be annoyed. The clerk seemed not to notice.
She waited as the older lady, who had been quite a looker in her time and still tried to keep up the appearance of a younger woman, left the counter and went to check on something with her debit card. Her gentleman friend paid for his portion of their purchases.
The clerk spoke courteously to him and helped him make his way through the electronic directions to conclude his portion of the transaction.
Finally his friend returned, and the clerk helped her through the same process, as if they had all the time in the world.
The couple left this gracious woman’s counter with their meager groceries and numerous cans of cat food — and their dignity intact.
* * * * *
Military veterans from Korea to Iraq waited on the other side of the fence for airplanes that would be flying in with toys and foods for local veterans’ families. As they waited they traded stories of war and wounds.
When the small aircraft finally arrived, the veterans commented on how young the pilots were. One day in memories past, they were young pilots too.
The young men and women exited their planes as the veterans pulled trucks and cars onto the airfield in an assembly line to load up the bags, thoughtfully packaged at 25 pounds each.
Striking against a blue sky and the airfield runway were scenes of young pilots passing bags of toys and food to veterans with stronger courage than backs and knees. One bag after another piled into one vehicle after another until literally hundreds of pounds of generosity were loaded and ready to be distributed to veterans and their families.
“You‘ve made some happy Christmases,” one veteran said as the youthful pilots concluded their task and prepared for their return trip northward.
“We were honored to do it,” the young people replied.
No generation gap existed on that December afternoon on an isolated airfield where Christmas came early.
* * * * *
Mac and Dottie met on a blind date in the mid-1940’s about the time the young nurse graduated from the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps. They would marry on December 27, 1947.
For not quite a month short of 65 years, Mac and Dottie would share their lives together. They would mourn the loss of an infant child and raise three other children to noble adulthood. They would work in their chosen fields of nursing and engineering.
They would serve their communities, their God and each other.
On December 2 Mac’s beautiful sweetheart passed away.
The last few years had not been easy, but their love remained strong. Their daughter Anne would leave her own place of residence to come back home to help dad take care of the love of his life. Anne and Mac saw it not as a burden but a privilege, even a blessing.
They were blessed to the very end, when Dottie was able to peacefully slip away at home next to her sweetheart.
Many will remember today as Pearl Harbor Day, but today, for Mac, it will also be the day he holds a memorial service for his sweet and precious love.