"Do you have time for a cup of coffee?"
I'd stopped by to collect a box of books for our ESL program. The couple welcomed me in, offered me a brief tour, and invited me to sit. Since they likely didn't treat the mailman to the same hospitality, I chose to stay. Besides, the top bullet point of my job description is "Have time for a cup of coffee."
The books could wait, as well as my sermon.
In an hour I'd consumed eight ounces of Folgers and fifty years of personal history--work, married life, family, remodeling projects, church sagas, and a few surgical tales. I took them in sips, black and unsweetened.
I learned about running your own business and Christmas Snowflake Bears. I learned about building codes and government health care. And I learned that a man who passes the offering basket can lead a church, and a woman who sits near the back can throw a nasty right hook.
At one point I asked about aging. The difficulties were apparent; I wanted to know the glories. They shook their heads and smiled. The conversation returned to ailing eyes and prescriptions, but they hadn't fooled me.
The flesh may weaken, but the spirit persists. It glows in reminiscence and story.