"Hey, Red, you owe me a nickel!"
Susan had bumped Frank while he was playing pinball in the bar where she waitressed. A red light flashed TILT and the game was over. Reaching into her apron pocket, Susan pulled out a nickel and flicked it to him, then went back to her work.
"I'm going to marry her someday," Frank told the bartender confidently.
"Sure you are!" he laughed. "She's been here a long time, and Ive never known her to even go out on a date. Good luck!" Frank rubbed the nickel between his fingers, knowing it was his lucky charm.
Susan had made a life for herself as a young widow and single mother. The last thing she was thinking of was complicating her life with a new man.
But Frank's lucky charm worked -- Susan knocked his socks off and stole Frank's heart on their first date. Soon he had not only won her heart, but her daughter's as well.
There were many hard times after their wedding. Frank was a military man who was shipped overseas, leaving Susan in the single-mother role once again. Another daughter kept her busy, and both daughters adored their daddy. The years passed by quickly.
Frank loved to tell the nickel story to anyone who would listen. His eyes sparkled as he spoke of his love for Susan. This was a man who truly loved his wife.
Their fiftieth wedding anniversary was a special day. Frank contacted me to do a floral arrangement for the church and a corsage for his bride. They renewed their vows on that Sunday morning following the worship service. Our band surprised them as they walked down the aisle by singing "their" song, "The Sunny Side of the Street." Their walk became a dance as Frank twirled Susan down the aisle. What a celebration! It was a joy to be in their presence.
Soon after this wonderful day, Frank got sick. He offered everyone a smile and continued to glow with his love of Susan. Frank was never one to complain. Having a strong faith, Frank knew he would be with the Lord soon. After a few long months of suffering, he died.
All the seats at the funeral home were taken as we gathered to honor the memory of this dear friend. We were all inspired by him in our own ways. The minister spoke of Frank with such love and respect. We laughed, and our hearts were warmed as he shared memories of this special man. And then he told the nickel story. He said that Frank had called him a week or so before he died and asked to see him. While they visited, Frank took out his lucky charm. He had held onto that nickel for all of these years.
"Frank told me to keep this for him," the minister said as he reached into his pocket and walked over to Susan. "He wanted me to give it to you today and tell you to hold onto it. He'll be waiting for you at the pinball machine."
~Hana Haatainen-Caye ©2003