“Ahhh, just smell that!” Harry said, taking in a deep breath, rapture shining from his face.
“What?” asked George.
“Love is in the air,” Harry replied, breathing deeply once more and smiling. “Mm-mm; Yes sir – love is in the air.”
“You’re daff, Harry. That’s just the cabbage cookin’ in the diner across the street. Wind’s from the south today.”
“Oh, come on, George, don’t be so mundane. Give yourself over to your senses, man.”
“Senses? Why, Harry, you ain’t got the good sense God gave a duck.”
Looking offended, “Why would you say that?”
“Well, look at you. 78 and a half, if you’re a day, and you’re sittin’ here on this comfortable bench with not a care in the world, but you’re talkin’ about love like it was somethin’ glorious and somethin’ you want.”
“Well, it is somethin’ I want.”
“No it ain’t. You done had it – four wives — and all it did was cost you lots of money – first for getting’ married, then for buyin’ houses, then for buyin’ your wives everything they wanted, then for the divorces, and now – every month – for the alimony – four alimonies.”
“But it’s Spring, Harry! Don’t that make you feel alive and ready to take a chance on love again?”
“No, it don’t! I’ve had it with love. It’s three square meals a day, a nice warm bench to rest on, and a trustworthy buddy or two that makes life worth livin’. Those things are better than what you call love any day.”
“Well, I do remember hearin’ a quote by somebody once that said havin’ all your own teeth and a good solid bank account beat marriage for makin’ a body happy.”
Nodding his head, George answered. “There you go. Now you’re talkin’ sense. And since we both have our own teeth still yet, and money in our pockets, what say we go across the street for a big helping of Archie’s corned beef and cabbage? It’s smellin’ so good right now my stomach’s growling.”
Sighing, Harry got up from the bench. “Okay, George. I guess it is time for lunch, but I can smell love in the air.”
“It’s the corned beef and cabbage, you dope. Cain’t you tell the difference?”
“George, my friend,” Harry said, placing his hand on his friend’s shoulder as they jiggled their legs to work out the stiffness, “It may smell like corned beef and cabbage to you, but it’s got magic in it. In fact, I have this feelin’ that love is just around the corner for me.”
They both started across the street, but just as they reached the center of the road, a car came swerving around the corner and squealed to halt, just missing George and knocking Harry flat. A beautiful woman jumped from the car and ran to kneel down beside Harry.
“Oh, sir, are you alive? Are you alive?”
Harry opened his eyes, looked up into her delightful face with its halo of golden curls, and grinned broadly. “By golly, I told George love was just around the corner.” He got up and dusted himself off. Taking the young woman’s arm, he escorted her to the curb. “How about I buy you lunch, pretty lady,” he said, beaming at her. “Let’s step into the diner, here, and talk about our future.”
George followed them into the diner but went to sit at the lunch counter all by himself, shaking his head in frustration.
“What’ll you have,” Archie asked him.
“Confound it! Just give me a order of that love potion you got brewin’ in there.”
“You know – that derned corned beef and cabbage.”