It was a long time coming. Actually, she'd given up a while back but something about giving up just seemed to ease her way a bit. She was no longer anxious and worrying about it and she just lived her life as well as possible.
It wasn't a complicated life but it was one that needed attention. She had to chop a little wood now and then. She had to carry a few things here and there.
It made her smile when she thought of that because she had heard this phrase once from a student. He was hitchhiking his way across the country and working odd jobs.
His name was Stan, as she remembered and every once in a while when she was doing her chores around the cabin he would stop and smile if he was helping out a neighbor and he'd say, "Chop wood, carry water." And she'd look at him kind of funny and after a while she began to think of him as Stan - chop wood carry water.
The last time she saw him he told her that it had to do with something that he'd read in a book once about understanding the way life worked. That you could think about things, though ultimately you still had to chop wood, carry water.
Meaning he had to get up in the morning, he had to go to sleep at night, he had to do the chores that he did. In short, he had to do what he had to do every day and he would say, "Chop wood, carry water" to her because it was really a compliment. She was doing what needed to be done also.
He liked to talk with her. That's what he said and when he would come around during the summertimes like that she was always grateful because her neighbors didn't always want to talk about things.
Sometimes they just wanted to grumble and complain but she never saw any point in that. She thought it would be worthwhile to do the work and to do it as well as possible what ever it was so that she could feel good about having done the job well whether it was something small or something bigger like repairing the cabin which she could do.
This year was different though. When Stan came around he seemed to be a little more mature. He didn't say, "Chop wood, carry water" to her anymore. Every once in a while he'd come by and just give her a flower and bow a little bit or smile a little bit and go on. She didn't know exactly what that meant but it made her smile.
It had been a long time since her mother and dad had passed away and she didn't really know that there was going to be much more in life for her but she still felt good that she had her health, she had her old dog who was getting on but still was a good companion and while not being much able to be a true watchdog would alert her to somebody coming around - even Stan.
He'd give a little woof - not a big one, just a little woof and when he would do that she'd always know that it was a friend coming. He could still give a loud bark if it was somebody that he didn't know. He was a good old dog.
This last time Stan came around he gave her a flower again and he said, "There's somebody I'd like you to meet." She asked, "Is it somebody local?" Stan replied, "Just down that trail that turns off to the right a piece but he said he hadn't met you." She thought about it and said, "I haven't been down that particular trail. I don't know why. I just go the way I've always gone and come back the way I've always come back."
Stan smiled a little and said that he'd been doing some work for this guy and the man had mentioned that he'd seen you coming and going and would it be possible for Stan to introduce the two of you.
After Stan said this and after all these few years talking to Stan she felt that he was a good person. A young man yes but had a good heart and a clear mind and she said, "Well, what do you think Stan? Is it alright to meet this person?" Stan answered, "I wouldn't have brought it up if I thought it wasn't."
Stan suggested, "How about tomorrow? I'll be coming by at the usual time and I could bring him with me." She paused for a moment and then said, "Well, I don't have anything special to wear." Stan said with a slight chuckle, "Well, he said the same thing to me but you know what - I think that you two could be friends and who knows. I don't think you need to do anything - just be yourself. That's what I said to the man too." She answered, "Okay."
Well, sure enough that next day came. She had slept pretty well although she woke up in the middle of the night thinking - what am I going to do. Oh my - but she went back to sleep. Stan came by and he brought him. He was a nice looking fella - right around her age. She had no idea he had been nearby. She thought to herself - I've never seen this man and I swear he looks like he could be my age or pretty close to it.
Stan introduced them. He said, "George, this is my friend Molly that I told you about." George said, "Pleased to meet you ma'am." Molly replied, "I'm happy to meet you George." George continued, "I have these nice flowers growing nearby in my garden where Stan has been doing a little work for me. I wondered if I could bring you a flower every day and take over that job from Stan." Molly said, "Well, I still like to see Stan but if you'd like to bring a flower, I wouldn't say no."
Thinking back on that now, Molly thought to herself, looking over at George dozing off a bit in his chair by the fireplace - him being a bit older now since they'd been married for - what was it - 23 years and still getting along fine - now living in George's cabin which was quite a bit bigger and nicer then her old place though she loved her old place as well.
She looked in the mirror and thought - my, my, we do get on but we're still strong for being in our 80's and looking back on it she thought to herself - I'm so grateful for Stan bringing George by that way.
She went over and she woke up George. "Let's go to bed, Honey." George smiled at her and said, "I was just dreaming how grateful I was to Stan for introducing us. He was a good boy, wasn't he. Yes, he's gone off now to do other things but he said he'd bring by the wife and kids this next spring. I'll look forward to meeting them." "Me too Honey," said Molly, let's go to bed now."
George got up out of the rocking chair and they walked off into the bedroom to enjoy each other and to live on for the time they had left.
As life went on they had another 7 good years together and one night they were in each other's arms and both just passed away together softly and gently into the night. Lived to their 90's they did and a very nice surprise later in life discovering that life wasn't over yet for either one of them.
Happy Valentines Day and remember, life isn't over for you either. You never know what good things life could bring down the road. A friend perhaps and maybe even a friend who is a messenger.