... there was a bloody big bang and then...
"Ah!" I said. "I know this one. Then the universe was formed, right?"
"No, lad. As I was saying, there was the big bang ... but her dad found out and made us get married!" said Ted.
"Oh! You mean ... I thought ... "
"In my experience you young folks don't think" said Ted, as he strolled towards a park bench and sat down.
"Anyway, that was 61 years ago, back in 1952. Been married ever since. 'course it wasn't always easy. The first two years were terrible; fighting, shouting, violence ... oh, it was awful ..." he sighed.
"Yes, but it got better. I mean, you are still together" I said as I sat down beside Ted.
"Oh, God! Yes! It got better after two years, give or take" Ted began to refill his pipe.
"When you and your wife got accustomed to one another?" I suggested.
"No, no! When her dad died! It was him I was always fighting with" He lit his pipe. "He never really liked me"
"But, hey!" I said. "61 years! That's some marriage you have there. Go on ... tell me. What's the secret?"
"There's no secret, lad. It's not a game or some sort of science. All you have to do is find a woman that loves you, and who you love, and you look after each other! That's all."
Ted took another puff on his pipe then tapped it out on the arm rest of the bench.
"Nothing to do with secrets. It's all about love, honesty and loyalty. Young folks don't realise that. If they did, there would be a damned-sight fewer divorces" said Ted.
We said our goodbyes and I watched for a whiled as Ted wandered off towards the park gates, then I went home.
Ok, so I made most of that up, but the bit about there being no secret ... about love and honesty ... they were Ted's exact words.
And they are so very true.
That Ted ... he knows a thing or two and I really enjoy our all to infrequent chats.