Back in the seventies my sweet Sven was in Rome.
He paid a visit to the Vatican.
"The crowd was starting to disperse when I got there," he says.
"Did you see the pope?"
"No. But I saw the balcony where he had just been standing."
On the same trip he was the very first person in line at the train station early in the morning and the very last person to get on the train.
"How did that happen?" I said.
"Well, I bent down to pick up my suit case and the entire crowd swarmed in front of me. I barely got on it."
This is why I love him.

It is that Norwegian timing of his that makes him so darn cute.
He has been self-quarantining since early February due to a back injury. Way before anyone else had considered it in these parts.
And I have been in charge.
For any of you beginners in the field of caretaking, I would like to point out that the little white plastic stool softener bottle looks just like the little white plastic Ibuprofen bottle.
Anyway, it wasn't surprising that Sven was going a little stir crazy after being cooped up for six weeks.
Just when things were starting to get real here in Wisconsin, he says. "Millie, I think I am going to go to town today."
"What? You feel good enough to go to town?"
"And you feel good enough to drive?"
This was very exciting news for both of us.
As a newly retired guy last June, his thing to do, as he was trying to figure out what newly retired guys do, was to go to town.
Even though we have coffee at home.
He preferred to pour his second cup at the gas station.
Even though everyone pays their bills online, he prefers to pay them by mail. But not the credit card. He prefers to pay the credit card bill at the bank.
Even though he is no longer a contractor, he prefers to park his truck by the back door at the lumber company.
Even though he never picks up more than three items at a time, he likes to go to the grocery store.
And even though he drinks beer without the alcohol in it anymore, he prefers to pick it up at the liquor store.
This sunny news of Sven out and about again gave me goose bumps and a realization that I could someday lose my new title of, dump queen.
As much as I love being a Wednesday afternoon regular whipping trash into the compactor and tossing recyclables into bins, I am not going to arm wrestle him for it.
Even though Sven was not able skip out to his truck.
He did not take his crutches along.
He was walking free style.
An hour later he came through the kitchen door.
"How was it?" I yelled from the loft. "You forgot to take your thermos."
"Well," he hollers back. "That was not a problem. You can't get coffee there anymore."
I came over to the ledge.
"No self serve food or beverages," he said.
"And the bank lobby is closed."
"It is?"
"I had to go through the drive through."
"That's not so bad is it?"
"It took me longer to go through the drive through than if I would have just gone inside the lobby."
I was picturing a long line of cursing cars behind my sweetie when he said, "And, I forgot to pick up your bird food."
"Oh well. Did you at least get to visit your girlfriend?"
"Yeah. I gave her back her Tupperware. And I picked up some beer."
That is my Sven.
He still thinks every plastic container is called Tupperware.
And his Norwegian timing has not changed.
I honestly think all the new ways he described happened the very day he ventured out.
At least he was able to witness it first hand.
Because it is hard to understand that what you are watching on TV is not sci-phi.
Someday he will be back shooting the breeze with the guys at the lumber yard, stirring cream into his coffee at the gas station and will be standing inside the bank lobby cashing in on free Friday popcorn and paying the Visa bill.
But for the time being, he is on the couch reading a book and social distancing himself, like the rest of us.
He just started a little early is all.

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