My jaw dropped open at the nasty comment which escaped his lips. He was ordinarily very polite. I looked him over and then chose to brush off the comment.
The elderly man’s face dropped moments after the words came out. He turned around and walked out the door. I knew he was under enormous stress. His wife of 63 years was on her deathbed. About two minutes later he drove up to the window which my teller station faced. He apologized into the speaker phone for his rude statement. I accepted the apology and smiled my thanks, then moved on. No hard feelings.
Valentine’s Day was the following week. The man came in frequently to update us on his wife’s health status. After 63 years, he was still very much in love with his bride. Her ailing condition tore him to pieces. One of the other tellers and I offered him support and encouragement in any way we could. Often we just listened. There wasn’t much either of us could do.
The Monday before Valentine’s Day, I waltzed into the bank to discover a large pink and red stuffed dog sitting the counter by my teller station. I smiled at the adorable gift and asked to whom it belonged.
Another teller’s eyes darted toward mine and she declared, “You!”
In response to my shock she explained that the elderly man visited the bank that morning, clutching that lovely Valentine. He told the other teller that he lost sleep over the comment he made toward me the previous week. He bought me the beautiful pink dog and he bought one to match for his beloved wife. The gift in itself thrilled my heart. But to know that his dying wife had a matching Valentine added so much significance. I named the doggie Dewey, after the kind man who gave him to me.
Mr. Dewey’s wife died that week before Valentine’s Day. Although I never met that wonderful woman, I will always cherish the Valentine we shared. Dewey is my special reminder that marriage can succeed. In an age so filled with divorce and marital strife, the picture of a man so deeply devoted to his wife after 63 years is absolutely breathtaking. Unlike the Valentine’s Day gifts my friends discard after relationships gone wrong, I will always appreciate my large, pink dog and the love and commitment he represents.