The timing belt went out on the station wagon, so they piled the kids in rows of two between them in the old pick-up, and made do.
When she dropped him off at work she rolled down the window and said, “I love you…and I’m proud of you!” Then she blew him a kiss and drove away. No matter how hard times got, she always said it. More importantly, she meant it.
She drove the kids to school. He labored.
Then she went to church, knelt down at the feet of the Blessed Mother and said, “Mary…Queen of Heaven and earth, please give me the strength to be his rock.” She recited the Hail Mary twelve times, and kissed the feet of the statue.
He moved one bale of hay after another, struggling to keep up with the younger pups, because his bones were aged and worn.
When she got home, she looked in the pantry for items to set aside for supper. Pickens were slim, so she had to make do.
At noon, he punched his time card and sat down. When he opened his lunch box he found a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an apple, and a note, which read, “I love you. And I’m proud of you!” He smiled and said his mealtime prayer.
She washed the clothes by hand, and then hung each item over the line in the backyard. Then she carried the empty basket to the house while singing “Amazing Grace”.
He labored through the second half of his day, growing weaker with each task. Then he punched his time card and waited for her.
She picked up the kids and drove to the grain and feed. He was waiting when she pulled up, and once he got in, she leaned over and kissed him. Then she said, “I love you. And I’m proud of you!”
On the way home, they stopped by the ‘pick and pull’ for a used timing belt. After ten minutes of picking, and ten minutes of pulling, they were ten dollars poorer, but they had what they needed.
When they arrived home, the kids played, she cooked, and he labored under the old station wagon. He took one break to eat, and then got back under the car to finish his work. She washed the dishes, put the kids to bed, and walked out to the driveway where his work was done.
He slid out from under the engine, grabbed her hand, and pulled her near the driver’s door. They closed their eyes, and held their breath together. He turned the key, and the engine roared.
They opened their eyes and danced with each other—first in celebration, and then in love.
Then the used timing belt snapped in half, and the engine died. He dropped his head in despair, so she placed her hand under his chin, lifted his head back up, and said, “I love you…and I’m proud of you!”
They went inside, washed up, and lied down next to each other in bed. Then, like every night, he said the Our Father, and she followed with a Hail Mary. Together they said a Glory Be, and then kissed each other good night.
Before he fell asleep he said, “I guess we’ll try again tomorrow.”