What’s Better than Chocolate?

Could have been his grey hair. Most likely his walker, a long-term result of his West Nile neurological Disease. But a few weekends back, someone much younger guessed the Preacher’s age at 75—almost two decades up the road. It stuck in his craw, I think.

At precisely 8:45 last evening, he yawned and snapped off the lamp beside his chair. “I’m going to bed.”

We’d just finished watching a movie—the story of a pre-WW11 family who, tired of their dreary English countryside, moved to a villa in Greece. There they had lively and extravagant experiences, involving people and a menagerie of “other animals”.

Without leaving our living room, the movie transported us about as far from a Saskatchewan winter as one could imagine.

For ninety minutes, we watched warm, wild and colorful sights. Heard exuberant, lively sounds. Lived with that zany English family in the sun-warmed Greek countryside. I howled, the Preacher chuckled. Even Ernie the parrot, perched on my shoulder, got all stirred up.

Ernie gets excited often—by the arrival of company, the ringing of a phone, or the playing of the piano. He sounds like a cross between a famished donkey and a flock of irate crows at first. Then he moves on to big noise—garbled, guttural hellos and a vast variation of whistles and unexplainable utterances.

After he mussed up my hair and tried to crack my ear (albeit gently) I transferred him to the Preacher’s shoulder. There he contented himself with laughing whenever we did, and clucking like a chicken at the loudest parts.

Far too much quiet descended the moment I ejected the DVD. Even Ernie clammed up. 

I looked over at the Preacher. “Good grief, Rick, I’m not going to bed at quarter to nine at night. We’re like a pair of old people. That’s our problem around here. We’re dead before we’re dead.”

He grinned. “I’m still going to bed—to read.”

“Well,” I said, “I’m going to Greece. Gonna get myself a cute Greek boyfriend…”

Not waiting for me to finish, the man crowed (in his usual supportive way), “Go for it!”

“…a cute little boy about twelve years old, who loves animals!” I finished.

We both chuckled over our big fat Greek adventure, then he left the room. I watched him go on ahead. I do that often these days.

The little boat of our joint lives has plied a long river. Over our thirty-three year marriage, we’ve drifted in calm waters, endured a few storms, encountered some white water, and faced plenty of pirates. Our faces both show it.

But we’re still pulling together. We promised, and God has helped us.

“Many waters cannot quench love, and the floods cannot drown it,” King Solomon said. In spite of my silly Greek fantasy, I’d like to add, “and age cannot stop it.”

We’re in this boat till God leads it to the dock—we make that choice daily.

Committed love. It’s better than chocolate. Aim for that.

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