Every Thursday, our geezer bus makes a run to a nearby megastore. I’m usually among the half-dozen or so Grandview Senior Living residents on board. Last Thursday, I got carded.
That trip I added a six-pack of Two Hearted Ale. I bypass self-checkouts; I’m too klutzy for them. Besides, I’m always the first of our group to finish so don’t mind waiting behind weekly shoppers with heaped-up carts. I’ll be waiting somewhere anyway. Checking out the couple ahead of me was a cashier betrayed by her eyes. Boredom streamed out of their glazed surfaces like solar flares from the sun. She needed some fun.
And she grabbed some. Before scanning my six-pack, in a voice anybody within 50 feet could hear, she asked:
“What’s your date of birth?”
At roughly equal volume, I replied:
“February 23, 1936. Franklin Roosevelt was president.”
Three carts behind me started laughing.
“Do you need to see my ID? Do I get the ale?”
“You’re good,” she assured me.
I bought it because I was intrigued by its name. The ale is named after the Two Hearted River in Michigan’s upper peninsula. Hemingway wrote a story titled: “Big Two Hearted River.” Its waters host trout which actually do have two hearts. There’s a regular heart with the standard four chambers and a ‘booster’ heart near the tail with only two chambers. That one’s called the caudal heart. Two hearts that both love the same fish. It’s like the Casablanca scene where Victor Lazlo tells Rick Blaine that they both love the same woman.
And I bought it because it titles my two-hearted love story. My sweet wife, since you died and left me, I carry your heart inside mine:
You are home in my heart, you live there still.
You lived there from the start and you always will.
Dean Z. Douthat is a retired engineer residing at a senior living facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan.