Earlier this week I stopped at the pharmacy of a local grocery store. I was the first person in line behind an elderly woman being helped at the counter.
The pharmacy employee retrieved the woman’s medications and told her the cost. The woman then proceeded to pull her checkbook out of her purse and very slowly, very precisely, write the document.
As she was writing I caught sight of a clock on the wall across the way. It was one of those big face clocks with the second hand that, if you are close enough, you can hear. Tick. Tick. Tick.
Waiting, I felt like moments of my life were draining away. It had been a trying day, to say the least, and this delay was just one more thing added to the heap of unpleasantness. I closed my eyes for a moment and took a deep breath.
As with anything medical these day, the pharmacy employee asked the woman to verify her birthday. I didn’t hear all of it, but I did hear the year.
I looked at the woman again. She was impeccably dressed in a black pantsuit and blouse and wore low heels. Her salt and pepper hair was pulled back in a bun at the nape of her neck. A wooden cane, rather old fashioned looking, hung on the counter next to her. She finished her transaction and walked away. She wasn’t quick but she moved with purpose, with elegance.
I moved up to the counter for my turn. The employee made a comment regarding the woman and how she hoped to be doing as well at that age. I had to agree.
As I left the store, I saw the woman once more. She was sitting on a bench, waiting for her ride I suppose. There was a grace and a peace about her as she sat there, her posture perfect and her eyes bright. She didn’t seem to be impatient or bothered by waiting.
Suddenly she wasn’t just a woman. She was a lady.