While at lunch today, I saw an elderly couple eating together. At a glance, they were like any other old folks. White hair. Plain clothes. Wrinkly skin. I didn't pay them much attention until they stood up to leave.

It was then that I actually paid attention to them. They both looked delicate from their age, and you could see the frailty of their bodies by their slow, careful movements.

The woman had clear plastic tubes leading from her nostrils to a oxygen tank in a blue cloth handbag. The old man stood up with her, holding the bag in his hands. He put the straps over his shoulder. The lady turned her back to him so he could rest his arm on her shoulder, and they slowly walked to the counter to pay.

I noticed this, and thought of how much the man must care for his wife to always be at arms length from her, carrying her life support. It seemed that his wife was entirely dependant upon him, and yet he was perfectly willing to always be at her side. Something made it even more touching that he made a point of always having a hand on her, to make sure they pastic tubes never stretched should they step apart, or so I thought.

It wasn't until I was leaving that I noticed one thing more. As I walked out to my car, I saw the old man helping his wife into the driver's seat. I noticed something in his hand, besides the oxygen tank. It was a walking stick with a red point. I looked at his face. Thick black glasses. It was suddenly obvious. He was blind.

That's why he had his arm on her shoulder. It didn't have anything to do with the tube. She was leading him. She was just as much his support as he was hers.

I don't know if this has communicated the emotion of the scene to you, but I felt I had to share this however I could. It stuck in my mind, but maybe just because I was there.

lyrical warfare says:


rnewhouse says:

That's awesome. Thanks for posting it.

Wirehead says:

I like stuff like that, though my favorite "old person" story isn't anywhere near as emotionally impactful:

About 3 years ago I was walking in to the grocery store in January or February. I was wearing shorts and a T-shirt at the time because it was sunny and 60 degrees or so. I was loving the weather - but this invariably provokes fearful looks from the local retired population who were wandering around in, literally, earmuffs and snowpants. I kid you not. They look at me like I'm some kind of drug-crazed psychotic who's going to go steal their Geritol or something.

Anyway, as I was heading into the grocery store I saw this AMAZINGLY old man come stumping out of the store. He was one of those guys who seems to just sort of dry up and get tougher the older he gets, and isn't ever really going to DIE...he'll just become 2 dimensional or something. Or the wind will blow him away.

But I digress. He came walking out with this sort of, "Dont F**ck with me, world" walk, pulling a pretty large oxygen tank behind him which went to a mask that covered his mouth. After he got about 20 feet outside the store he stopped and fumbled in his pockets for a bit, and came out with a pack of unfiltered Lucky Strikes. He pulled the mask up over his nose and started smoking like he hadn't had one in years. I mean, taking these DEEP, LONG drags where you could see the tip of the cigarette glowing from 50 feet away...I didn't stop to stare but in the time it took me to close the distance between us he was about halfway through that cigarette. I mean, this guy had to be at least 95. I was impressed as hell. I thought, "Thats what *I* want to be like when *I* grow up..."

Aesopian says:

Watch [link http://usa.bmwfilms.com/clap.asp?template=archive&country=usa&film=powderkeg]Powderkeg[/link] at [link http://www.bmwfilms.com]BMW Films[/link]. The ending will grab you by the heart.

[edit]Edited by Aesopian: Mar. 6, 2003 - 11:09:59 PM[/edit]

Jackson says:

That is indeed a rather touching story, Aesopian. It's therefore very understandable and heart-wrenching when they describe/show their upset after they've lost their spouse - because they have literally lost a part of themself.

Lisboa says:


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