Archive for March, 2013

Silent Everlasting
March 24, 2013

 

                                                                               

 

It is 2033.  I am traveling with my partner.  We stop in a small town.  It is such a pleasure to be away from the busy, noisy city.  We step out of our car and take a deep breath of the crisp, unpolluted air. As it enters our lungs, we feel its coolness reverberate through our bodies.

“Feels good, huh!”  we exclaim almost simultaneously.

“It’s so quiet, too.  Sure a nice change for us.”

We stop.  We listen.  There is little sound except for the whisper of the cool breeze and the soft chirping of the little birds in the trees overhead. There is a crow cawing in the azure sky while wrestling the drifting clouds. 

Old people are ambling along the sidewalks—some in deep conversation, others, just sitting on benches gossiping.  The stores seem to be experiencing slow times as we see the shopkeepers on the sidewalks conversing with passersby.

There are no children.  There are no youngsters playing and running.  The playground equipment is still and rusting.  There are no balls barely missing our heads aimed by improvised bats made from tree limbs.  There are no teens with MP3 players hardly seeing us so engrossed are they in their music  Only old people crossing our paths.

Where are the children?  They must be in school.  So we walk over to the school and find it shuttered.  The swings don’t swing; the slide is dull; the grass is tall.  There are no children here either.  We thought the children were missing only in the city.  We expected to find them here in this small town.

My partner and I look at each other.  Could it be the norm in our society that caused this?  Could it be our actions as loving human males that allowed this to happen.  I love my partner, and I married him 20 years ago.  That is a long time to be married, even in this age.  Of course, many of us did the same back in 2013.  We just wanted to be happy.

So many of us married our loving partners that there was no union of male and female.  We had so much love, and we were so happy.

There are no children now!  We miss the laughter, the crazy antics that brought smiles to our faces.  Some of us miss taking children to the zoo or the circus or the park.  We miss McDonalds’ Happy Meals.  Where are the cotton candy and the lollipops? 

On a more somber note, who will care for us when we grow older?  Who will pick out our assisted living home, or cry at our funerals or treasure our cremains?

I guess we did not think of that back then; we only wanted to be happy and loved.

And now, all there is………….is silence
.

Memories a-la-card
March 17, 2013

“Bette, you are the sweetest thing to remember my birthday. You are always so thoughtful!”

With these words, my cousin-friend acknowledged the birthday card I had sent. It was fushia with tiny frosted flowers and the words “Happy Birthday to a Special Cousin,” but what was written inside was the best. “Thinking of our fun times together, the happy memories we share…” I had written the memories I had of our time together.

My brother and I would leave Chicago for the entire summer to spend our school vacation on our maternal grandparents’ farm in Iowa where we worked, played, adventured and learned thrifty (sometimes difficult) lessons from our dear relatives. My cousin would come to the farm to spend some of the time with us since she lived in the city closest to the farm. She was younger and would often have a bout of inconsolable homesickness requiring a trip back to town in the middle of the night. This was just one of the memories I shared with her.

About a month later, it was my birthday. I received a card from my cousin. When I opened it, it looked familiar. It was the card I had sent her.

“Didn’t she like it?” I wondered. “Why would she send it back to me? Why would she return it? Was there something offensive about it? Did it contain memories she would just as well forget?”

As I pulled the card from its envelope, a neatly-folded sheet of ivory paper fell onto our rustic wood floor. I retrieved it recognizing the writing on its invisible lines. My cousin had written her memories of the love and emotions we had exchanged in our growing-up years.

No email or phone call could have carried the timeless bonding we had bequeathed to each other on our birthdays that year. Seeing the memories written activated the sights and feelings, the joys and fears we shared when we visited our favorite farm.

New memories have been made over the years in our lives with our families, but the warmth of these shared memories has become an irreplaceable treasure not tarnished by time. Perhaps, our children and grandchildren will discover and prize these written gems.

“Family is a feeling that neither time nor distance can diminish,” a truth from the greeting card.