"I really like your shirt," a voice behind me says.
I turn from my random musings at the grocery checkout line to find an older gentleman, somewhere in his late 70s, peering at me through bright blue eyes and a shock of thick, white hair.
I'm surprised at first, but smile warmly back at him. "Thank you, that's really nice," I say. I look down to remember what I'm wearing. A springy flowery top and brown dress pants. Once in a while I manage to look put together.
"I think I bought it at Kohl's," I say and shrug.
"You look very put together," he says and smiles. "I buy all my wife's clothes."
"You must be brave to buy your wife's clothes." I say. He's the first man I've ever met who admits to accomplishing this feat.
"I have good taste," he says. He looks thoughtful for a moment. "I firmly believe that all women should be given gifts and have clothes bought for them now and then, especially at Christmas and on their birthdays. You should even get them a car, even if you don't like it, as long as they're happy."
Imagine my astonishment - this is not something women hear very often - and certainly not in line at the grocery store.
He reminds me so much of my own grandfather, that I can't help but smiling back at him again.
"I imagine your wife certainly appreciates everything you do for her."
"Oh, well, I have to buy her clothes and get the groceries. I'm also cook and chief bottle washer, too. My wife has Alzheimer's, so she really doesn't know what's going on most of the time."
I nod in sympathy. "I'm sorry to hear that," I say. "My grandmother has it as well."
"There are times she does know me, though, and for a few hours, she's so happy to see me."
I wonder how often that scene plays itself out for people and their loved ones suffering from the disease.
"Then I'm sure those moments mean that much more to her," I say, feeling as though I could hug this man if I knew him better.
We stop talking as I greet the cashier, and pay for my spaghetti sauce and garlic bread.
"Please take care, " I say to him as I grab my bag and turn to leave. "God bless."
"Same to you," he says and smiles
I make it back to my car and turn on the engine. As I drive away I say a brief prayer for him and hope that when he gets home that his wife remembers, and that for a little while they can know each other again.