Teamwork continues in a great marriage
JOHN Parry takes the hand of his wife, Marianne, gently wobbles her knee, and asks, "What's that, love?".
Parkinson's disease and age make it difficult for Marianne, 77, to communicate, and some days are better than others.
John, 81, could jump in and speak for her, but he waits every time, giving his wife the opportunity to have her say.
Only when the words don't come does he help out, all the while with one eye on Marianne to make sure he really is speaking for both of them.
Teamwork, he tells us, is how they got through the busy years when they were establishing a family and a hobby farm. And teamwork is how they get through now.
No longer mobile, Marianne lives in aged care at Caloundra and John in an independent unit around the corner in the same complex, but he is with her every day.
They have been married 54 years.
John, a Welshman, had immigrated to Australia six weeks before they met at Brisbane's Regatta Hotel.
"My mate said, 'John would you do me a favour? My girlfriend's come down from Dalby but she's got her cousin with her'."
John took the cousin for a drive, dropping the girls home in the early hours of the morning with Marianne's not-very-amused father looking on.
But John and his mate were invited back to afternoon tea the next day - a rendezvous that provided challenges for both sides.
"She was a redhead. Well, a honey blonde, really," he said.
And Marianne's parents struggled with his Welsh accent. "They said, 'Marianne, what did he say?'"
The pairing worked though. They married, adopted two children and worked hard, John sometimes doing two jobs as an electrical technician and in catering, and Marianne at the helm of a successful catering business.
They bought their own home and later built one and established a hobby farm.
The future was one they created rather than planned. And they still work together.