The fact that he's dying at 84, hospitalized for congestive heart failure three times now, is mildly overlooked by his wife of 50 some years.
Neighbor (wife): "Oh, Ralph is doing great. He's home from the hospital with the oxygen machine and we're going to McDonald's for breakfast."
John and Stryker shovel their driveway and sidewalks. The Matron now sleeps with the phone at her beside, waiting for the late night call.
She goes over morning and night to administer eye-drops and medication.
Lest she sound saint-like, this is all ten minutes a day. But there's the heart involved.
Theses people who have been together for fifty years still hold hands. They wanted --but never had -- children. They've welcomed hers into their lives with joy. They're good for Dairy Queen Treats, cat visits, and complete love.
Neighbor: "I'm a little worried about Ralph. If I need you, can I call?"
Matron: "Yes. Yes, you can."
The Matron has dropped the ball on many, many things lately. She's resigned as the Presiden of the Parent Teacher Organization at her youngest's school. She's failed to follow through in all kinds of ways as she waits for tenure (Please Oprah) and juggles the full-time job with all the rest. She even took nearly a week off from the blog!
But she's still will have the phone by her bedside.
And bear witness to 50 years of commitment and love. May she be so lucky.