Monday, August 02, 2004

Something to Envy

He looked like an ancient walrus, she like a very alert geriatric sparrow. They sat, side by side, at my table in the dining-car of the train. We were all waiting for service which for some reason was unusually slow.

She asked me a few innocent questions and then launched into a tirade about 'that horrible man Bush'. He kept trying to shush her: "Now, dearest, no politics, remember?" She put her hand on his, smiled and turned back towards me, vehement in her lesson about the bad current administration.

When she found that I agreed, he relaxed and started telling stories about his job on the railways in the 1930's. No, things hadn't been better then, but they sure had had quicker meals. She kept listening to him intently, showing the kind of pride in his humor that I normally associate with proud parents. In order to attract the attention of the waitstaff to our needs he asked her in a loud voice:"Hey, good-looking, aren't you peckish yet?"

The food finally arrived, and he had trouble pouring the coffee into his cup. As she helped him he told me all about the homeless animals she was rescuing and how astonishingly lucky he was to be married to her.

"He's ninety next week", she answered, and they turned to look at each other. "I'm just a chicken in comparison", she added, "I just turned eighty-five."

"I think we're going to retire early tonight", he said with a wink as they got up to return to their compartment.