My (then) fiance and I sat elbow to elbow in a booth at a local eatery called The Pig Stand – the type of eatery where your legs get stuck to the booth when you attempt to leave, begging you stay a bit longer. The food is just as clingy – chicken fried steaks, burgers, malts, and pie slices for every occasion.
Our tender, late night conversation made me giggle and hide in my arm like a 16-year old school girl who just mastered a mathematics final. The elderly woman, seated behind my fiance, slid out of her booth and slowly turned to tell me, “Never get old, mija.”
Her smile drizzled on our shoulders when she shared her Senior Times with us. She offered precautionary advise on having bad knees. She was so inviting, tired, curious and spoke in a low tone.
Stories developed on her tongue; however, she tamed them. They were not ready to be offered to strangers. Her eyes searched us as she asked, “Are you two a couple? A married couple or just boyfriend and girlfriend? You two are such a beautiful couple.” She offered a smile with a dim shine in her eyes.
I lifted my hand to show her, “We just got engaged!” Her body melted. She motioned to hug both of us, slowly and carefully.
“Love each other the way you do now and it will last forever.”
Kind advice from, “My name is Olga.” We introduced ourselves in return and listened as she spoke about having dinner and having had three glasses of wine prior to her meal. “I had to get a bite in me.”
I wondered where she’d been. Maybe not home. Wherever she was headed, she didn’t seem to want to go there as she stalled a while longer with us. Alone.
We offered to pay for her dinner and her eyes welled with tears. I had to pry the ticket from her hands, careful not to give her a paper cut. She didn’t know what to say to us, but she brought her hand to her heart and managed, “Thank you. Oh, God bless you.”
There should be no poor among you. Deuteronomy 15:4
My heart sunk as I realized no one had ever done this for her or it wasn’t something she expected from the world.
I don’t know Ms. Olga’s story only that she lives in a neighborhood near our current one. That evening, she was a long way from home. I think about Ms. Olga often. I see her face in my stories.
There we are en las caras de los ancianos (in the faces of our elderly). I know at judgement time we will be held accountable for our elderlyand our poor. What did we do for them after they raised us?
Be blessed, Ms. Olga, wherever you go.
Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do. Deuteronomy 15:9