After the sermon I made my way up to say 'how do you do' to Miss Wray and introduce myself to her friend. I gently made my way through the crowd until I arrived at Wray's side. By that time she was talking to someone else so I walked around and extended my hand to our visitor.
When I came face to face with Miss Julia I was absolutely mesmerized. Here before me was a woman old enough to be my grandmother and yet her beauty rivaled that of a women in her twenties. Not only was there not a hair out of place, but her makeup was flawless. Her clothing, her jewelry, even her nails were done to perfection. I remember thinking that she looked like a queen.
"I'm so glad you could be here with us today," I said, extending my hand. She looked at me and didn't say anything, didn't offer her hand. Sort of uncomfortable. But that's okay. Some people are shy.
"My name is kathie." Still nothing. Not even a smile. Okay, officially uncomfortable. I look to Wray for help, but she is still engaged with someone else.
"How long will you be here?" I try again. This time I get a bit of a smile, but then she picks up her pocketbook and greets Ned who is now by her side, whispering something in her ear, then turning to answer a question from someone to his right. Which leaves just me and Julia, making eye contact but not saying anything. Very uncomfortable.
That encounter left me more than a little unsettled. Why was she being rude? Would it have been too much to just say 'hello.'
I have to admit that I stewed over that for most of the day. It wasn't until our small group Bible study that night that I found out as, Paul Harvey used to say...the rest of the story.
You see, Julia was in the advanced stages of Altzheimers. Her flawless makeup? Ned. Her coordinated wardrobe/jewelry? Ned. Her perfectly manicured nails? You guessed it! Ned.
Wray told me that for all of Julia's life she had been a great beauty. At the university she had been one of the most sought-after young women on campus, not only for her looks but her cheerful pleasant personality, and the kindness she showered on everyone. It's no wonder Ned took one look at her and fell head over heels in love!
Because of that enormous love and affection he made it his life's mission to keep her dignity intact. He learned to apply her makeup, do her nails, and even made sure she had her montly colorings at the salon and took her for her weekly styling appointments.
I learned a valuable lesson that day, folks. Actually, two valuable lesson. Never judge - sometimes things aren't always as they seem. But mostly I learned the meaning of a true, true love.
Happy Valentine's Day weekend to each and every one of you!