[This true story was inspired by a scene I witnessed while eating out with my family on July 4th.]
Their heads almost touched, one snow white and one dark, as they leaned over the table from their seats. The dark woman was young, strong and capable, the white haired one frail with age. It seemed an unlikely friendship especially in the south. The white haired one was well-dressed and manicured, someone with social importance –– a debutante a lifetime ago. The dark lady was a hard worker. She took charge of things.
The strong lady ordered for the frail one and helped her eat. The frail one was once strong- willed, even stubborn. You could tell by the way she set her jaw, slightly tilted up. She did not like this needing help, this caretaker her children said she needed. She did not like having someone wipe her chin and hold her fork, someone spreading her napkin over her lap. She held her head down for moments at a time, gathering strength to accept more help. She lowered her head as the dark lady wiped crumbs from her chin and her lap.
Then the strong lady ordered a dessert for her companion, banana pudding in a mason jar. This, I noticed… is when she ordered her own food. She ate her lunch while her friend ate her dessert. The frail lady seemed to enjoy the dessert, even a half smile.
They ate in silence, celebrating the 4th of July in a beautiful and sad picture. I thought about these two ladies, both beautiful and both strong in different ways. There was strength in the way the dark and strong lady helped so kindly and patiently. There was strength in the way the white haired and frail lady accepted the help; this caretaker had become her friend. A seemingly unlikely friendship, but maybe they had more in common than we know.