I was overwhelmed recently by the enduring expression of love from the man in the booth at Hardees. His wife, gone for months, but he still showed up on their special day each week to have breakfast with her and chat as they always had.
Equally enduring and so incredibly beautiful, I was introduced to the Childress couple last Friday. Lynnette, one of our patient relations reps at Presbyterian Hospital emailed to tell me about a couple who was with us and she heard it was their wedding anniversary: 61 years.
Well, she and the crew, Tiffany, Lindsey, Steve from Food Services, the unit manager, Anne, and others jumped to action. If this couple was to spend their anniversary with us it was to be as special as we could make it. I had to be there.
It was to be a surprise. A rolling table and white tablecloth. A beautifully prepared meal for husband, wife, and their son. Flowers and a card.
We gathered and wheeled in together at 5:30. Once they realized this was a party, their faces beamed in gladness. Mrs. Childress stood by her husband’s side and they bathed in celebration of their long life together.
Lindsey said, “I hear you are a singer, Mr. Childress.” She went on to ask if he wanted to serenade his wife on their anniversary. He pointed to his throat and mentioned something about his voice being a little “crackly” at the moment. We understood. His comment had barely landed on our ears before he began to croon for his beloved. The Desert Song (Sigmund Romberg / Otto Harbach / Oscar Hammerstein II). His voice broke just a little and he searched for a lyric now and then. As she watched lovingly, she offered a part of a line when it didn’t come to him, which he finished for her. It was a sort of handoff. “…Its voice enthralling…WILL MAKE YOU MINE” he closed in a romantic crescendo.
Smiles and tears filled the room. This was their moment. We got to be there. I wish they could have been in their home for this special day, but it was our honor…our privilege to celebrate their life together and care for them both. Happy Anniversary to the Childress couple. You are what is possible.
Blue heaven and you and I,
And sand kissing a moonlit sky.
A desert breeze whisp’ring a lullaby,
Only stars above you
To see I love you.
Oh, give me that night divine
And let my arms in yours entwine.
The desert song calling,
Its voice enthralling
Will make you mine.