Friday, December 3, 2010
A Monkey? No, a Love Story!
"I have a little story to tell you about this monkey," I replied, and here is the story: Frank and Alice Rodriguez are a couple from our church that have been long-time members. Frank is 93, and Alice is 96. My husband got word yesterday that Alice was gravely ill and almost went home to be with the Lord. Alice made it through another night, and we went to see them in their home today. When we arrived, the hospice care worker greeted us at the door and showed us into the room in which both Frank and Alice were resting in their hospital beds. Frank immediately sat up on the edge of his bed and within moments removed the oxygen tube from his nose. Alice was lying in her bed unaware of our presence. I prayed with Alice for a few moments, and then joined the conversation that Frank and Daryl were having. Frank had been able to be in church this past Sunday, and he was expressing with much animation how much he had enjoyed the sermon which was on the Bible. It wasn't long before Frank's attention turned to Alice, and he stated, "We almost lost her yesterday." Trying find the right words in those moments can be very difficult, but Frank made it easy on us by continuing to talk. "I had these flowers sent to her." He pointed up at a beautiful bouquet of red carnations on a shelf. "Our anniversary is on December 4th," he informed us.
"That's tomorrow," my husband said.
"Right. It will be 56 years." Franks eyes filled with tears and his voice began to quiver as he said, "The first day I met her, I told her I loved her, and I love her just as much today as I did then." He went on to extol the virtues of his kind and gentle wife whom he has loved for so many years now. Daryl and I held each others hands tightly while listening to Frank. Our conversation moved on, and soon we were ready to leave.
As we stood, Frank stood also, "I need to walk around," he said. When we got to the door, he wanted to show us the the patio and yard he had worked on many years ago. Frank had been in construction, so using his knowledge and capabilities, he had done several things through the years to his home to beautify it and make it comfortable for Alice and him. Once again we were ready to leave. As we made our way to the door again, Frank wanted to show us one more thing--the bedroom that he and Alice had shared for so many years. The room was tastefully decorated, and Frank proudly told us how he had wallpapered and fixed the bathroom just to their liking. We started out the bedroom door when Frank motioned to me. "I have something to give you." He reached over to a stackable plastic drawer and reached for something. He turned and handed me the little, stuffed monkey. Looking at the little guy, I began to laugh and thank him. Then Frank said, "It's from the Coconut Grove. I gave it Alice on our first date, and now I'm giving it to you to take care of."
As I finished telling my boys the story, they all realized just like I did, that the little monkey I brought home was not just a funny looking, little, stuffed animal but the symbol of a life of love between two people.