Wednesday, February 11, 2009

AN EARLY VALENTINE

Recommending a cup of coffee, this is a bit long. Brevity is not my long suit--he he. So much for wordless Wednesday.


After retirement from the power company and while I was working for the Florida Turnpike, I got the urge again for self employment. I had tried unsuccessfully right after leaving the power company, to raise day old calves for beef(subject of another post.) The beef market went kaplooie and I kept getting attached to my herd. I would never make a good rancher. That project failed but having experienced me as a boss was a great incentive to try again. I came across the idea of using my favorite toy at the time, a video camera, to make some money.



Originally I had planned to video seniors as they committed their histories to tape for their children and grandchildren. Blogs form that function today. I felt there was a need and it was something my soul as a writer would find interesting. Thus the name of my business was Video Storyteller.



As a side, I planned to do insurance videos. I would record all of a persons belongings in case of a fire, hurricane or any massive loss. Insurance companies would only pay for what you could list. Close your eves right now and try to list every possession you have where you are currently sitting. Hard isn't it?


What took off the fastest was the insurance part. Being in Florida with yearly hurricanes, it made the most sense. It really satisfied the snoop in me for nothing in a person's house was off limits to my camera. All my clients were darling and I loved my job. I hated having to schedule around my second shift job. I loved doing it so much that I wanted to do it full time . However, since I was undercharging to build a business and my profit margin was slim, I worked both.


One day I got a call from an older gentleman who had seen one of my insurance videos and wanted one for himself. He asked how long it usually took and I told him they average 2 to 3 hours. He agreed to the price and we set an appointment.


I drove up to his double wide which was in a nice retirement park with 1.25 acre lots. Sam came out to greet me attached to an incredibly long oxygen tube. I told him I did the outside first and proceeded. His garage had only an older car, a rake and a push mower. This is usually where a lot of people kept bunches of stuff. not Sam.


When I came inside, Sam introduced me to his wife Carrie who sat on the couch with a walker in front of her. She was as heavy as Sam was slim and she had a very pleasant appearance. Carrie was Norman Rockwell's ideal Grandmother. These were two very elderly people. Sam tied to the oxygen tank by a long cord and his wife who was barely mobile.


A little shocked, I noticed the inside of the house was very sparsely decorated. There was a couch, a chair, a table, a small TV/VCR combination and one wall painting. I had previously told him this would take a couple hours but I honestly didn't see a good 15 minutes of work. I didn't want to embarrass him by finishing so quickly, so I videoed everything from every angle. In the bare kitchen, I even taped the condiments and refrigerator contents to use up time. The clothes closet would have made Henry David Thoreau proud. These people were living a very spartan life. I don't know if they were poor or just very frugal.


When I had finished taping , Sam asked me if I would tape just one more thing.
"Sure" I said for thus far, I had definitely not earned my money. Then I learned the real reason he had hired me.


Sam sat on the couch with his wife and asked me to tape them. As I started the tape he said in a proud voice with his arm around his wife, "On October 12 , my wife will be 89 years old and I have loved her for 63 of those years."


Then,and even now, my throat screwed shut and the tears welled up. A surprised Carrie beamed broader than a lottery winner and they shared a kiss that years together had reduced to a comfortable peck.


I fussed with the camera for a while for I frankly could not talk. I don't think I have ever been so touched by the love between a married couple. I confess I am a bit jaded in that respect, but that day Sam showed me that the most romantic of men do not need rose pedals, caviar and Dom Perignon. They just needed 20 very sweet, deeply felt words. Carrie was a lucky woman.

I always think of them this time of year. I truly hope they are still alive and watching that tape on birthdays and holidays. Happy Valentines Day Sam and Carrie.

3 comments :

  1. That's a good story. I can almost see it as a scene in a movie.

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  2. What a lovely story. I hope they are still alive, too.

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  3. Thanks for stopping by Robert. Always glad to see a new face. Sam and Carrie had so little but oh so much.

    Oh Betty, I really hope so. I just hope they are never separated by illness, they were a wonderful unit.

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