Cold hands – Warm heart at -16º

16 01 2009

img_38082Seven years earlier her mother had died and it forced a move to a new life in a new state, new school, new city.  The day after she turned 21 her daddy walked her down the aisle.  Those were the days when the entire congregation would show up to see two of their own wed and there was no shame in hanging over the balcony to see the bride in her gray outfit made by a seamstress. 



Her brother, his brother – her two friends; one in burgundy and the other in teal, both cut from the same pattern as the bride’s.  A simple reception in the church basement – post-war, no one expected more.


The woman next to her dad is a stand-in to balance the photo…I think she was the wife of the Pastor.  


Off to Chicago for a night in the Stevens (now the Chicago Hilton and Towers).  Sixty years that love lasted. They weren’t perfect people…but  it was a choice they made day after day – moment after moment.  And together they were – right up till the end of Billy’s days.  

Why love if losing hurts so much?

We love to know that we are not alone.  

                                                                     C.S. Lewis

I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart so long.

If we’re in each others dreams, we can be together all the time.

                                                        Hobbes of Calvin and Hobbes

we wish you many happy returns…

15 01 2009

img_3814Right now it is -11º.   Add to that 11 mph winds and it feels like -31º.  That is the kind of cold where they tell you not to go out unless absolutely necessary. I hesitated to even attempt to make the trek today. Every county along the Lake (and that makes up about 75% of the trip) had lake effect snows slated to receive about seven inches.  I decided to just take it very easy on those snow covered slick roads and the normal two hour trip took an extra hour. I never even told her I was coming because that would just be stupid.   An important lesson – don’t tell toddlers or old people what you MIGHT be doing…

But I’m here and it’s her 82nd birthday and tomorrow would have been their 61st wedding anniversary.  These aren’t dates that she should be alone.  At least not for the first time around.  And after tomorrow…we will have passed all the important dates just five months after Billy left us.  

Billy’s birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, her birthday followed the next day by their anniversary…the first ones “alone” are now history. Mile markers on the path whether it is a path we would have chosen or not.  Sort of like the candles on a cake – whether we like how many are there or not – each stands for a year’s worth of life lessons that are there for us to celebrate.

So after I sang to her – I launched right into:

We wish you many happy returns on this the day of your birth,

 may sunshine and gladness be given, 

may God in his mercy prepare you on earth

for a beautiful birthday in heaven. 

“and I’ll be with Bill!”, she added through a teary smile.