Our last Christmas together, Ed took me on a spontaneous date to a restaurant in a fancy hotel. He hadn’t made reservations, so the only available seats were at the bar. We squeezed onto a corner. The friendly bartender, Joe, showed us the menu, and we ordered. While we were eating, a father and his autistic son came in and asked for a table. The female bartender, Mary, recognized them and apologized that there was no room. The father said, “That’s OK, Mary, it was just that Joshua was looking forward to one of your great burgers.” Ed and I looked at each other and whispered, “No room at the inn.”
We told the bartenders that we would gladly move over and make room. The father was so grateful that he offered to buy us drinks. We thanked him but let him know that we didn’t drink. Mary looked at Joe, and they said, “Then how about a couple of desserts on the house?” We thanked them and accepted. As we drove home that night, we were filled with the spirit of Christmas.
After Ed died, I was going through his cell phone and found a note that said, “Leo’s Christmas Gift 2020.” There was an Internet link. When I clicked on the link, it went to the most beautiful Nativity statue I had ever seen. It was Joseph kissing Mary’s forehead while holding her head gently. The other hand caressed Mary’s hand and the baby Jesus. I clicked on “place an order” and bought the Christmas gift that Ed had chosen for me. I will wrap it and place it under the tree. On Christmas Day, I will open it and remember Ed, Jesus, Mary and Joe.
Leonor “Leo” and Ed Rivera were members of the local Worldwide Marriage Encounter community for 32 of their 34 years of marriage until Ed unexpectedly died of a heart attack on Aug 1, 2020. To learn more about Worldwide Marriage Encounter in-person and virtual enrichment weekends, visit www.wwme.org. To read more of Leo and Ed’s blogs, visit https://catholiccourier.com/viewpoints/blogs/to-have-and-to-hold.