Thursday, October 29, 2015

Papa's Little Truck

"Oh, about this time of year I always remember Papa's little truck," Melinda said to her sister. "I remember too," said Janice. "I guess it's because it's papa's birthday." 

As her children shared their memories, Gerta smiled as she remembered how proud Herman had been of his truck. It was his first vehicle ever. Oh, it was old and a little scratched and beat up from so many previous owners but to Herman it was beautiful. She always missed him a bit this time of the year but her children would rally around her and ask her to tell the old stories as she knew would happen and the stories comforted her as they knew they would. She smiled at them.

“Tell the story again about our first trip in the truck down the road to the neighbors mama,” asked Janice

Gerta replied, “Do you really want to hear that one again?”

Janice, Melinda and their younger brother Freddy all chimed in, “Oh yes mama, please do.”

Gerta smiled at them and began, “I remember the time we went and got the pumpkins. We were all packed into the truck and there was hardly any room because there wasn’t enough room for everybody inside the truck itself. 

“It was Papa, of course, and me and Freddy who was about 3 years old and there was just enough room for him to sit on my lap - and you girls were in the bed of the truck.

“We were going to get the pumpkins because it was not only time for bringing in the crop but it was also getting kind of close to halloween and you kids were always excited about halloween because it meant you would be able to dress up in funny little costumes that I could put together out of this and that.

“Papa would take us around to the neighbors because the neighbor’s were a little ways off and since Papa had one of the few vehicles around there then the neighbors wouldn’t have to walk over to our place.

“It was about a mile down the road to get there and of course all of us were used to walking but it was night time so - well it was a good excuse for Papa to enjoy driving his little truck. 

Gerta smiled at them, “All you kids were looking forward to getting some treats too. We were going to make popcorn balls to give away that year but Millie put a little too much corn in the pot and we were eating popcorn for a few days afterward.” They all laughed about that since a little too much was actually a lot to much.

“As we got to our friends house everybody was out in front waving at us when we came down the road and they had a pumpkin there with a candle inside and a young one was sort of cuddled up near it. It was really cute. I remember that the pumpkin had a big smile on its face and so did the little one.

“We all went inside and as always we all sang songs and enjoyed bowls of fruit and told stories afterwards. Nobody told any scary stories, everyone told stories about far away places with wonderful names and stories about the stars and the people who lived there. 

After a while all the children started getting sleepy and our neighbors prepared a big basket of fruit for us as well as 3 big pumpkins - some of which they’d picked that day and it was a good time for us all.

“We all got in the truck to go home with our pumpkins and our basket of fruit and with all you kids looking forward to halloween when you’d go out with your costumes and your good feelings from our story time and time with our good friends.

Gerta got up and hugged each one of her children and they all went out to the porch to do something to remember those good times. They stood holding hands and looked out towards the neighborhood. They waved at the neighbors who were out on their porches and all said together, “Happy Halloween and good friends to you all.”

Friday, February 13, 2015

Wheels of Passage

“You need to meet somebody that’s your own age, Dad,” Tilda said to her father. “Maybe you’ll be interested again.”

“Oh honey…,” Gus said, “…I was married to your mother for 40 years and I’m not sure whether I’m ready to even think about being with another woman.”

“But dad, it’s been 7 years since mom - you know.”

“I know sweetie but you know, she was the love of my life. I can’t imagine, well…”

“Look dad, here it is. I met this woman - now don’t jump up, give me a minute okay? I met this woman recently and she’s a really nice person. And you know, the reason she caught my eye in the first place is that she was out in front of her house polishing this beautiful old hot rod.”

“Come on - now you’re making something up,” he said. “No, no really. I took a picture. Take a look at this,” Tilda said showing him the photo on her phone.

“Whoa, well what makes you think it’s her car?”

“Well, you know, I went over and asked her. I told her, ‘Gosh, my dad’s been interested in cars and hot rods his whole life.’” 

She said, ‘Really?’ and then she went on polishing.” 

“I said, ‘It’s such a beautiful car. Is it yours?”

She said, “Oh yes, I’ve had this car for about 27 years. Yeah, it’s a long story and I’ve got to finish waxing it.”

“So you know dad, I just pitched in and helped her finish. You know how I am and it’s not like we haven’t polished plenty of cars over time together,” Tilda said with a smile.
Gus chuckled, “You sure are helpful honey and you’re not shy with cars. You sure helped me wax a few.”

“Well anyway,” Tilda continued, “we got to talking…”
“Now wait a minute,” Gus interrupted, “you’ve been telling me now for about 6 months about this new friend you’ve got and you’ve been hanging around with her. This isn’t by chance your new friend?”

“Well, yes she is dad. I wasn’t sure for a long time, you know, whether she was available.”
“Oh I see”, Gus said, “what makes you think she is now?”
“Well, I saw this picture on her mantlepiece when we were inside having coffee after washing her car recently and it was her when she was younger standing next to a fella and I asked her about it. She told me that she always brought that picture out around Valentines Day. She said that was her husband and that he’d passed over quite a few years ago.”

“Well, we got to talking then. She said she works at an auto parts store and it’s a job she really likes. On the weekends she usually tinkers with the hot rod and sometimes drives it around a little bit though she has a regular car too that she drives to work. Anyway dad, we got to talking and she’s kind of lonely… and uh dad, you’re lonely too.”

“Well now honey, I’ve got my dog and got my good girl here”, he said smiling affectionately at Tilda, “and I’ve got a good life.”

“I know that dad but I know you’re lonely.”

Gus paused for a moment and then said, “Well, yeah I admit it sweetie. I’m lonely but people’ve been trying to fix me up for a while and…”

“Just give it a try dad. Tell you what. I was on my way over to Trudy’s and I was going to bring her some of my special valentine shaped cookies. Why don’t you come along.”

“Well, okay,” he said.

They walked the few blocks over to Trudy’s house and up her driveway and there she was with her back to them standing next to the beautiful blue 1932 Ford coupe. 
Impressed by the beauty of the old hot rod Gus said, “My goodness!”

Trudy turned around and said, “Hi Tilda and who’s this?”
Tilda said, “Well, it’s my dad.”

Gus and Trudy took one look at each other and eyes were twinkling back and forth.
“Well, I was just going in to have some coffee and now we have something wonderful to go with it. Do you want to come in?” Trudy said to both of them but glancing at him in particular.

“Well yes, I believe I will,” Gus replied glancing at Tilda who nodded cheerfully.

They all walked in to Trudy’s house and got settled with some good hot coffee and Tilda’s extra fancy cookies.

They’d been chatting pleasantly for a few minutes when Tilda grinned and said to Trudy, “Tell him your nickname.”

“Oh honey, for pete’s sakes,” Trudy said laughing. “Go on, you can tell him. There’s a reason you can tell him. Come on, tell him now,” Tilda said somewhat mysteriously.

“All right,” Trudy said looking at Tilda with a bit of an unsaid question showing on her face. “My good friends occasionally call me Wrinkly.”

“Oh my gosh!” Gus said his face getting red as he looked at his daughter.

“No, no, no dad. Wait,” said Tilda reassuringly.
Trudy went on to say, “Some years ago I was visiting my son and his family. We’d all gone to the lake and the children were swimming and splashing around in the water. Jilly, who was only about three years old then came over to me and looked up and said, “Grandma, you’re wrinkly.”

“My son Rory and his wife Jan rushed over to apologize but I was laughing and so was Jilly and we all laughed together. Jan explained after our laugh-fest that the children had recently seen a Shar Pei dog and that Jilly must have picked up a new word for her when the dogs owner described him as wrinkly. And you know, every once in a while one of the kids, especially Jilly, or even Rory or Jan will call me Wrinkly.”

Tilda looked at her dad with a mischievous smile and said, “Your turn.”

Gus smiled at them both and said, “Okay. When I was a teenager I had a summer job working at a deli. It was a very popular place so my task was to wrap the sandwiches up well with tinfoil so they would stay fresh. So all day long I was doing that. Some of the fella’s who worked there started kidding me because of all the sounds the tinfoil made and started calling me Crinkly and the name just stuck. My old friends still call me that.”

The three of them stared at each other and started laughing. Well, one thing led to another and every weekend for the next few months Gus and Trudy would get together and ride around in her old hot rod or go to the movies or just take a nice walk.

One fine spring day Gus said to Trudy, “You know we hit it off pretty good. What do you say if you and I make it a regular thing.”

Trudy said, “Well, you’re going to have to say that the right way.”

And he said, “Yes indeed. Madame Wrinkly, Mr. Crinkly would like you to be my wife.”

Trudy replied, “Mr. Crinkly, Madame Wrinkly would definitely like to do that.”

It just goes to show, never give up, never assume that life in any of its stages is beyond you. You just never know when something wonderful might happen. 

On that note, I’d like to wish you all a Happy Valentines Day wherever you are and whatever you’re doing and of course, goodlife to you all.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

On A Misty Morning

Awakening slowly one day, Mort looked out his window. It was a misty day and the clouds were rolling in from the mountains. It looked like it might rain or even snow a little bit, it was that time of year. Early in the winter in a mountain community one can expect anything weather-wise. 

He looked out to the far pasture. He could just make out his horse out there. She looked a bit lonely. He was grateful that his brother had gotten up early to feed and take care of the horses, it was his turn that day - but she was looking right at him. 

He chuckled and he knew that he had to get up and go out and say hello, and while he was on his way he might just pick up a few carrots. Oh how she loves carrots. And so he got ready and in about 25 or 30 minutes he put on his jacket and he put on his galoshes and he grabbed a small bunch of carrots, 3 or 4, and took them out there. 

When he was walking towards her, oh she was excited. She was young but she was excited. She saw him. She was so happy to see him. They were really pals - and he gave her the carrots. 

She loved them but she wanted him to come inside the coral. It was a big coral so she could run around. He got inside. She jumped around a bit. She was really very youthful for a horse, personality-wise. 

She sidled up to him and he took off his galoshes because he knew they wouldn’t be comfortable to her and let his boots slip off inside. Took his socks off, course they were wet now. Hopped up on her back - no saddle, no blanket. That was their deal. 

Their arrangement was always that he would never put a saddle or a blanket on her and she’d ride around but today was the day. He and his brother had talked about it for a long time. Today was the day. She wanted to go out into the hills and run around and she wanted him with her

So his brother Zeke came over and opened the gate and she took off. He had to hang on to her neck real hard and bend over but he was hangin on for dear life and she ran through the opening and up into the hills. 

She had such good footing and she stopped before she went too long and she neighed very loud and there was echoes of it all around and about. It was a - a mystical experience. He had never heard anything like it. Oh he’d heard her whiney before, many times but nothing like this. It was a special sound. He didn’t know what it meant. 

And she took a few more steps towards the steep part of the hill and he was worried that she would just go up that steep part. But no - she stopped - and waited. And she was standing there. He didn’t know how long. 

It seemed like a long time and he didn’t know what to expect. All of a sudden, out of nowhere it seemed, there was a white horse there and he’d never seen that horse before. Didn’t see a brand on it - never seen that horse before. 

The white horse walked over and they touched. They sort of hugged in that way that horses do with their necks and heads touching each other and while that happened he felt this feeling go through his body. It was amazing. He suddenly felt complete and total peace and for lack of a better word, he thought to himself, harmony

All was well in that moment. He felt like this is the way the world is supposed to be, this kind of peace, this kind of harmony and after a long time or a few seconds - he wasn’t sure which because it seemed like eternity the white horse stood back and out of nowhere, he hadn’t seen this before, unfolded wings and flew up the steep part of the hill into the mist and was gone. 

He didn’t know what to think so he decided not to - and he was there on his horse. She bowed her head and he bowed his head and he said a prayer. He said, “I am asking that all those beings on the Earth who need help, love and support receive that help, love and support now from all those beings who can help them.” It felt like his horse was praying too, the way she looked down and that energy, that feeling was there so strong. 

And then, she was happy again. She jumped around a bit and he held on for dear life feeling happy. She trotted home into the coral. 

He slid off, picked up his boots and galoshes and wet socks but he turned around before he left the coral and he looked at her and she looked at him and wouldn’t you know - he didn’t know a horse could do this - she winked at him and he just smiled and laughed and she whinnied a bit and he walked back into the house feeling like a new man.

Happy Holidays to you all wherever you may be and whatever you may be doing.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

And For Another Story...

Just a little note here. I just posted something on my Cheerful Stories blog some of you might enjoy. It's called My New Hobby. Hope you like it.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

By The Grace of God…

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.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Susie's Home

It was coming on towards winter and Susie, a leaf, was still hanging on the old apple tree. She couldn't understand why she was still there. All the other leaves had fallen off a long time ago but she was still hanging there. She was kind of dried up and a little crinkly but she was still there and wondering what's it all about? There'd been plenty of breezes but she hadn't fallen yet. 

Fortunately she had friends that came around and visited with her. Her best friends were Mortimer the mouse and Andre her bird friend. They would come around and talk to her when they had a moment because their lives were busy like every one else. 

As it was starting to get cooler, Mortimer had taken to telling Susie about the nest that he was building and Susie got interested in that and at the same time Andre stopped by. Mortimer and Andre were friends too. And Andre said, "Yes, yes." That he was also helping to build a nest that had to be very warm but it was difficult because there were twigs and there were some old feathers that he found around and he needed something to be like insulation to make the nest warmer. 

Susie perked up when she heard that and she said, "What about the leaves on the ground that have already fallen?" And they said, taking turns since they agreed and occasionally talking over each other when they would get excited, "Oh yes, we have used a lot of those but there's something special that's needed and we're just not sure what it is." 

Susie wriggled a little bit and she said, "Maybe you need something personal, something friendly because a nest is a special place. It's your home. It's where you'll have your children. It's where everyone will grow up and look back on it fondly and say 'home' in that special way we say home. Do you know what I mean?" 

Mortimer and Andre looked at each other and they realized that she was right. "How are we going to do that," they said. "It seems to me," said Mortimer who was a deep thinker, " that a leaf like that…," as he looked on the ground and there were hundreds, maybe thousands of leaves there from the old tree that Susie was attached to as well as all the other trees in the forest. "It seems that there needs to be some kind of personal feeling in that leaf so that the friendliness and the love is there in the leaf itself. Does that sound right," Mortimer said looking at Susie. 

Susie was quiet. She was thinking but Andre chimed in, "Yes, yes. That sounds exactly right. How will we find such a leaf?" Susie realized - this is why she was still on the tree. She said, "Maybe I'm that leaf! You're my best friends and I'd love to be part of your nest Mortimer and your nest Andre. Is there any chance, I mean I'm still on the tree. I haven't fallen off. Maybe that's what I've been waiting for!" 

Mortimer and Andre looked at each other, "Would it be alright? I mean you're our friend. We'd feel a little funny about that because - you know - well, I'd have to take part" said Andre and kind of trailed off a bit and Mortimer chimed in, "And I'd have to take part" and also kind of trailed off a bit. Susie said, "No no, it's fine, it's fine. I want to do that." So they settled in to wait. 

Meanwhile Mortimer was continuing to build his nest and Andre was continuing to build his nest and one day when the three of them were gathered on the tree limb where Susie still seemed to be, they saw a few snowflakes coming. "Oh my," they said, "What are we going to do?" 

And suddenly without any warning Susie fell from the tree. "Oh boy," she said all the way down, "This is going to be my chance." There was almost no wind so she fell almost straight down. 

Mortimer rushed to the ground and Andre flew down to the ground and they were both there moving around under Susie as she was floating down and floating down and finally she hit the ground and she could feel herself crackle and break up a bit. Andre gently stepped on part of Susie to keep her from blowing away on a light breeze that just came up and Mortimer softly stepped on another part and they said, "Are you alright? We're not stepping on you too hard?" 

"No no," she said, "You did just right. Oh this is great," she continued. "Oh, I feel myself beginning to fall apart. I didn't realize that's what happened when leaves touched the ground." 

"Oh yes," Mortimer said speaking wisely after his several years of building different nests, "Yes, crinkly leaves often fall apart almost immediately when they hit the ground," as they did in the forest where they all lived. 

"Oh, you better be quick then," Susie said, "Quick. Take some parts. I want to be part of your nest Mortimer and I want to be part of your nest Andre and maybe, maybe there's enough of me." She felt herself breaking up even before they had a chance to do that. 

She didn't know quite what was happening but it's really just part of the natural way of the Earth that things move from shape to shape. Mortimer said, "We better do this quick," to Andre as he noticed Susie breaking up into smaller and smaller parts. 

Andre and Mortimer gathered up all of the parts they could find and raced back to their nests. They worked for a couple of hours running and flying back and forth to their nests with each gathering as much of their precious friend as they could. 

All the time Susie felt like she was kind of sleepy. She would be there and then she wasn't and then she would be there and then she wasn't. She wasn't sure where she was going but she began to feel that she was going some place else. She didn't realize that would happen. Her last memories though as a crinkled old leaf were of her friends. 

Meanwhile Mortimer was singing and he said, "Oh, my nest feels so much warmer and everyone will be so happy and Andre was singing, "Oh everything feels so much more loving and friendly and cheerful with my dear friend here." 

But Susie wasn't only there. She felt herself rising up and she wasn't sure where she was going. She wasn't in the form of a leaf anymore but she just knew she was going somewhere. She went way up in the sky and she wasn't sure where she was going. 

Suddenly she heard a voice, "Susie," the voice said, "It's time for you to go someplace much warmer and they'll be lots of new friends there and you'll even be able to hear Mortimer's songs sometimes if you want to and Andre's songs too, if you're interested, from their nests while they're wintering." "Oh my," said Susie, "That sounds wonderful." 

"But now," the warm and friendly voice continued, "it's time for you to go to a new place where it's only and always warm and comfortable. It's in a different part of the world in a forest where there's lots of rain and where there are lots of other types of life. You'll like it there." 

Pretty soon Susie felt herself very small and she vaguely remembered being small before. She realized she was in a bud on a tree and pretty soon the sun was shining. She could tell because she was getting warmer and she felt herself opening. 

She felt herself sprouting from the bud and pretty soon even though she was very little she could tell she was deep in a warm and wonderful forest where things were quiet but in the distance she heard birds singing their songs and not very far away she saw - who was that? 

It was a little mouse in her tree and the mouse said, "Hi. My names Willy. What's yours?" And Susie knew she'd found her new home.


Love lives on forever in many ways. May you have a most loving and happy holiday now and forever. Goodlife to you all.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tilly and Bill

She thought back to the days of when they first met every time that she looked at that old frame, even from the side, with the picture of them in their heyday - very young and full of spunk - and they loved each other so much - she felt a surge of that love again. 

She wheeled over to get a little closer so she could see it better. The picture was in black and white because it was taken a long time ago. She remembered, "I think it was taken in the forties - yes it was the forties," she thought. 

The picture frame wasn't very fancy. It was a wooden frame but it was carved nicely. Her husband had carved it and made it special to fit the picture. The picture was big for its day, a portrait - and he made a special folding bracket in the back so that it could either stand up or be hung from a wall. That was not widely available then, not as now. 

Tilly got a little closer to the picture because she had to these days, and put on her special glasses for seeing things close up. She looked at it. 

There they were, young as could be sitting on the rail of the corral and smiling. Inside the corral was her favorite horse. She remembered that horse very well. She wasn't her horse but she was a good horse and Tilly liked visiting with her. 

That was the ranch that her family visited when she was younger, a teenager. That's where she met her husband. He was working at the ranch on a summer job and the two of them just clicked. 

They stayed in touch over the years through school. She went to college and he went to trade school and became a Farrier - shoeing horses - and she didn't realize then that their friendship would grow into something that lasted her whole lifetime. 

She didn't think he did either at the time but later on when they were married finally, she found out that he had always had his eye on her and had fallen in love with her - deeply in love when they had first met. 

She, on the other hand, liked him very much as a friend initially but over the years through college and the hard work and the study and onward afterwards to getting her medical license and becoming a General Practitioner just like her father - she felt through those years of study and working and practice that there was something missing in her life. 

She wrote weekly to her friend but the older she got and the more into her professional work she got, she realized that she didn't know anybody or appreciate anybody or really - by that time in her life - she admitted it - she didn't love anybody as much as she loved Bill. 

So, after she completed her residency she decided that she owed herself a trip and she took that trip back to Duluth, Minnesota where Bill had his Farrier practice and she didn't tell him she was coming. 

She figured that if she'd see him, if he was married, she'd smile and shake hands and shake hands with his wife and meet his kids and so on - she didn't know, she wasn't sure, she wasn't as confident as she got to be later - in his love. 

She went to his place where he worked on the horses and there he was - and lo and behold - she couldn't believe it - there was a picture of her on the wall next to his tools. 

He was working cleaning his tools when she walked in. Of course he was older and she'd seen a couple of pictures that he'd sent but he wasn't much into pictures although she liked photography very much. 

Tilly made a little sound, "Ahem" and he turned around slowly and his face lit up and his eyes were wide and he walked slowly towards her and there were tears at the corners of his eyes.

He said, "I was afraid I'd never see you again," and she said, "I knew I had to come." They hugged each other and she said without shame very quickly, "Are you married?" and he said, "No." And he said just as quickly, "Are you married?" And she said, "No." And he said, "Well, let's do something about that." Within three weeks they were married and they were married for fifty years. 

He had recently passed away and now a day didn't go by when she didn't wheel over in her chair and stop and look at that picture and know that true love lasts and sometimes it lasts even longer then you thought it would and sometimes it lives on forever.

Happy Valentines Day.