True Love at the Five and Dime

They say you'll never find true love if you go looking for it and I'll confess, I wasn't looking. In fact, it was almost the last thing on my mind. What I needed, I thought, was a new car battery but what I found in the Auto Department of the Kernersville Walmart, was true love.

I entered the store through the grimy Customer's Entrance of the Auto Department, prepared to do battle because this is what women do when they're on unfamiliar and allegedly unfriendly turf. I was prepared to be oversold and lied to, even though this was only a battery and somewhat straightforward. I had researched the brand, the model and the price and no grease monkey type was going to con me.

The man behind the desk was a few inches shorter than me, with a three-day old stubble of white facial hair, glasses and a friendly smile. He listened politely as I told him which battery I wanted, checked his computer, walked over to the stocked shelf and returned to declare they were all out of that kind but had it's slightly less well-rated cousin.

"That's the kind I put in the car my wife drives," he said, as if knowing this would sell me. "I always make sure she drives the best car because well...because she's my wife." He shrugged and smiled at his computer screen. "She drives a Toyota now too. Took me the longest time to get her to take it too." He shook his head and chuckled. "See, she's short and we couldn't figure how to get the seat up high enough for her to see over the steering wheel. Buddy of mine showed me." He shook his head. "You know, there's a..."

"Lever on the side," I finished, because I have a bad habit of finishing other people's sentences despite my best intentions not to. I nodded wisely. "How long've you been married?"

"Gonna be 51 years next week. We got engaged on April 1st, can you believe it? April 1st!" He chuckled and shook his head.

"Did she think you were kidding?" I asked, forgetting all about the stupid battery.

"Oh, no. She says 'The joke's on you 'cause I said yes!" He smiles like he's the happiest guy on Earth. "We still get along, you know? We talk and do stuff together. We still like each other.  Got 4 kids. That part, well, if I was to do it all over again, I'd just have a cat, but we're happy."

"You look like you're happy," I say, smiling at him.

"I met her on March the 17th and proposed on April 1st.  See, I was in the Service and I wanted to make sure...So we wrote letters until I got back and we got married. People thought I was crazy, you know, getting engaged after just two weeks. My pals said, 'What're you doing? Are you crazy? You don't even know her good!' But I just said, 'Tell me somethin', you open up a bag a marbles and there's a diamond sitting in the middle of them. How long does it take you to figure out you want that diamond?"

He smiles up at me. "That shut 'em up and we've been happily married over 50 years."


LBDDiaries said...

Oh my. I have goose bumps AND tears in my eyes AND a lump in my throat. I loved this story and am so glad to hear/read it! It just made my day (and welcome back)!

Nancy said...

Aww, thanks LBD! I felt the same way when he told me. It's nice to see love in action and know that after 50 years it can be just as sweet as the day they met.