When the kids were little, and Jared started preschool, I started volunteering at our church's office. Susan (not her real name) was the financial secretary there. She was about twenty years older than I, but treated me like a contemporary. She taught me the processes with patience and smiles.
Her husband, Leo (not his real name), who was quite a few years older than she, owned a frame shop where I took all of my cross-stitching to be framed. He loved to talk and share stories. And though I don't think handwork was his favorite thing to frame, he took a lot of care to make sure the weave of the fabric and the stitching lines were straight and the borders were even. He always did a beautiful job. And he would say things like, 'I see a lot of handwork, but I can tell yours, because it's as pretty on the back as it is on the front.' Not quite true, but rewarding nonetheless since I strive to keep the backs tidy.
In 2001, I was temping at an attorney's office. One day I answered the phone and it was Susan. By then she was working for an investment firm in town, and was calling to check on one of their client's estate documents. Before we hung up, she said, "Kathleen, do you know anyone who is looking for full-time work?" I said, "Yes, me!" And that's how I came to work for the same company as she, but at a different branch. Through the years we've maintained a sort of peripheral friendship...not a lot of contact, but mutual respect and regard.
A few years ago, Leo passed away right before Susan's planned retirement. As a couple they were always busy around town, and since Leo died, Susan has continued volunteering at the hospital and library, taking exercise classes at the wellness center, and recently travelled to Europe. One of my coworkers is a good friend of hers, and since my coworker just got back from her own trip to Europe, she called Susan to tell her about it. After listening for awhile, Susan said she had something to tell too...she's getting married on Sunday!
She's marrying her next-door neighbor of umpteen years who was also widowed awhile back. Over the years, how many times do you suppose they said hello over their front lawns without ever dreaming that their futures would be entwined? I am so happy for them. She is 75, and he is 83. Love is forever young.