“If he stood on his toes he would still look like he was sitting down!” she said and they both laughed.
I am guessing that after all the years they have been together he’s heard that one many times.
You can’t help but ask the obvious questions and they wouldn’t be tired of giving the not so obvious answers.
Meet Gracie and Pete.
They’ve been together for almost as long as I have been alive.
“She loves the name “Pete,” he said to me as he leaned toward my chair.
“Her first boyfriend in grade school was named Pete, too.”
He then goes for the punch line.
“I guess you can call me her “Re-Pete!”
Yes, they laughed. They always seemed to be laughing. Perhaps that’s the answer to my next obvious question.
“So, what do you attribute to your being together so long?”
Wait for it…his not so obvious answer.
“We met one night at a local dance and I forgot how to get home.”
“I brought him home and said to my mother, “Look what I found! Can I keep him?”
They continued to joke as they went on to offer some insight into the things that made their love strong.
“What was it that Pete said to you that first time, Gracie, that made such an impression?” I asked her.
“Well, I had no idea who he was when he walked up to me. He began talking to me like we knew each other all of our lives,” she said as she gently squeezed his hand.
“I felt that way,” he added.
“Then he said, “Don’t tell me you have forgotten.”
“Forgot what?” I asked.
“It’s the anniversary of our first kiss,” he told me.
Now with a very serious look on her face as if seeing her reaction live and in person that evening she said, “First kiss? We haven’t had our first kiss.”
He then joined in with his response, “I said, Well, we will!”
She, being quite the little actress, shrugged her shoulders and turned her head quickly to the side.
He tapped her on the shoulder and she turned toward him. He leaned in immediately and kissed her on the cheek.
Yes, they laughed. They must relive the moment every time someone asks.
I spent the next hour just listening and watching them. You couldn’t help it. The story they told might not be a classic or unusual love story. I couldn’t see Ryan O’Neal playing his part nor Ali MacGraw, hers. There wasn’t any wealthy family and they didn’t attend a fancy college together.
It wasn’t “The” love story. It was “A” love story.
But after all these years of taking pride in myself for really knowing what love is, calling myself an “old romantic” and throwing away any macho man labels men are supposed to carry, I openly speak of finding joy in a good romantic movie.
Today, though, I saw love in action.
They held hands. They smiled and laughed. They didn’t finish each others sentences, they hung on every word the other was speaking, as if hearing them for the first time.
They snuggled. They rubbed each others arms offering encouragement and their eyes glimmered as they spoke of the many trials, ups and downs and joys in their life.
Love is a powerful thing. It is God in the purest form. I thought I knew love. Today I saw it.
Our time together was coming to an end.
I had to do it. I had to ask them one more time.
“Would you do be a favor?” I asked.
They leaned toward each other like two love birds in a Disney cartoon.
“If I ask you again, would you replay that first kiss?”
They smiled and nodded in agreement.
“What was it that Pete said to you that first time, Gracie, that made such an impression?”
Yes, they did it again, not missing a word and she, she was clearly meant to be an actress.
“Don’t tell me you have forgotten.” “Forgot what?” “It’s the anniversary of our first kiss.”
– Bob Perks