Dad's been gone for three years now. Mom says Dad was her life. They were engaged when she was 16 and got married after Dad returned from the Korean war. She was 18 and just finishing her senior year of high school. They were about to celebrate their 58th wedding anniversary when Dad passed away.
Even though Mom missed Dad terribly, she was determined not to hole up in her apartment pining away. She stayed busy, heading up activities at the assisted living center, leading a Bible study, traveling, and spending time with family.
In the months leading up to this last Christmas though, Mom began calling me more often than usual--sometimes several times a day. She was lonely. She said she'd like a male friend, someone just to have coffee with. Where she lives, the women outnumber the guys five to one. She said it would be nice to have a guy to talk to once in awhile.
Mom spent the holidays with her brother's family in Nebraska. When she returned, I casually asked Mom if she had found a guy to have coffee with. She kind of hesitated and said there might be somebody but didn't give a lot of details other than he didn't drink coffee. I pressed her for more information. She told me he was 89, but he was like no other 89 year old she had ever met. He had so much fire in him. Huh. I wondered what that meant.
A few days later, I stopped by her apartment. I asked if she had heard from that gentleman again. He had actually stopped by that day. She told me who it was--Warren. We've been friends with Warren's family forever. I thought they'd make a great match. They know all the same people and have similar backgrounds. Warren had lost his wife just before Mom lost Dad.
From there the romance progressed at an alarming speed. For the next two weeks, I heard reports from Mom on how well they were getting along. They could talk about anything with one another. She didn't think it was supposed to work this way at their age, but they were absolutely smitten. I thought it was cute.
Mom told Warren she'd never get married again. Well, that didn't last long. By the third week, they were talking marriage. Mom joked with Warren that it was Leap Year. On Leap Year, she said, the women get to ask the men to marry them. Warren asked, "Well, are you?" Mom said, "Will you?" And Warren said "Let's do it."
Two days later on Mom's birthday, January 25, Warren got on his knees and officially proposed. That afternoon they were picking out the rings and applying for the marriage license. They were told at the license bureau that they would first need to get premarital counseling before the license was issued. They could get a license without it, but it would cost considerably more.
Since neither had gotten counseling the first time around, they figured it wouldn't hurt. So with almost 123 years of marriage between them, they drove over to see the pastor to sign up for premarital counseling.
They stopped at our house afterwards. Mom was right. Wearing a black leather jacket and hiking boots, Warren looked much younger than his age. I say he's a Clint Eastwood-kind of 89. Warren still splits wood, works on his tractors, travels, and takes out his four-wheeler and snowmobile. He even goes hiking in the Rockies, for crying out loud.
I don't get many calls from Mom anymore. In fact, I have to call her. She's too busy with Warren these days. Ten years older than Mom, Warren is going to keep her young.
They are looking forward to the time they have together. Mom's getting her passport. Their first trip will be to Calgary for their honeymoon.
The wedding is set for May 7th. It will be just their children, grandchildren, and great-grands (whose numbers combined remind me of Abraham's descendants traveling across the desert).
Warren and Mom have their families' blessings. We wish them much joy in the years ahead. Who knew that mature love would be just as fresh and exciting as young love?