On Saturday Tammy and I gave a ride home to an elderly couple who had attended a Red Cross meeting where we were.
To get to the meeting this couple had walked, caught a bus, then walked some steep hills for another 30 minutes.
I actually wondered at them even being at the meeting - first, because of their age (I felt curious about what service they could give to the Red Cross?), and secondly, I wondered at them making such a big effort to be there. It was a de-brief meeting, where we heard about the experiences of five volunteers who were deployed during the recent Bundaberg floods. Interesting, but I don't know if I would have gone to the efforts they had to be there..
We got to know them a little on the drive to take them home. Tom was 83 years old and she was his wife of three years. She had been married before and had five children (one of whom had died). She also had grand-children. He had never married before; he had always cared for his parents.
"I'd be dead now, if not for that," he said, but in his broad Scottish accent, that I could barely understand -although Tammy has a knack for that, thank goodness, and was quietly translating some of what he said for me.
"I couldn't understand most of what he said either!" his bride laughed, and her laugh was a happy trill that was glorious to hear. Not one person in a five thousand has a laugh like that! She was short and perhaps a little dumpy, and she wore a bright wedgewood-blue skirt and top, with a matching wide-brimmed that she kept on her head the whole time. Her laugh had youth and fun and sunshine in it. If that laugh could be bottled we would all be wanting some for Christmas! And perhaps because she was so good at laughing, she laughed often. (Or perhaps it works the other way around?)
He met her at church activities. He rang and asked her to marry him when she needed to move interstate. "I was more surprised than anyone,' she laughed. "Now I think of it, he did always carry my bag for me! He didn't want me to go away without him."
We let them off at their rented home, him so tall and lanky and with a satisfied twinkle in his eye, and her with her youthful, abundant smiles.
Then Tammy and I smiled all the way down their street, and on our way.
"How wonderful that they have each other!" we both said. And it really was.