Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Autumn/Fall (08/27/09)
TITLE: Golden Day
By Terry Atchison
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It was a beautiful, crisp, sunny day in October. The trees were boasting their colors of reds, oranges, and golden yellows. The air was cool, but the sun was still warm on the skin. Limpid blue skies framed the colors below in a tableau of nature's wonders. Ducks were swimming in lines across the pond as geese flew overhead, announcing their depart with the usual ruckus.
Lance was now sitting alone, drinking in the sounds and visual beauty of God's creation. He liked to spend his days here, “being friendly with The Man”, as he would say. He felt closer to God out here in the air. Lance reflected on his fifty-two years of life that was soon to be coming to an end.
“AML”, is what the doctor had pronounced four years ago. Acute myelogenous leukemia was the disease taking the life from his body. He fought hard with chemotherapy and combinations of drugs.
Now the fight was almost over and Lance just wanted to be at home, at peace.
“Lord, we have had a good time together, haven't we? I thank You for all the good and the bad. You taught me so much.” He smiled as he looked skyward. “Lena is the best gift that I have ever had in my life. You sure do know how to pick 'em. Don't know what I would do without her. Thank You Father.”
His voice was just a whisper. He tried to change positions, to lean more on the arm of the bench, but his body did not have enough strength to respond.
“You have blessed my life in so many ways. I remember that song that talks about the different phases of life we go through: the spring years, the summer years, the autumn years, and then the winter years. Well, I am thankful that I have gotten to my autumn years. I would like to have spent my winter years with Lena, but I understand that You will be there to comfort her. Doesn't get much better than that.” His voice was now very weak and he felt sleepy. He smiled as he thought of his beautiful, loving wife.
Lena was watching through the window as the sky started turning a reddish, violet-orange color. The sunsets had been magnificent lately. She would go out and sit with Lance once the coffee was made. She knew he liked to have his time alone with God. Many times she would just watch him and cry and cry. Lena knew that soon he would be gone and was trying to prepare for that moment. But how could she? She was happy that he could still make it outside to his favorite place. This was his favorite time of year the too.
“Honey, do you want a little coffee now?” She was carrying a tray, with their cups of coffee, out to Lance. It was rare that he would sip some, but he did like the aroma. He did not answer her or move, but this was normal. She sat the tray down and sat down beside him.
As she looked over the pond and enjoyed all the wonderful colors and sounds, she took his hand. It felt very cold; colder than normal. Lena looked over and saw that he was looking straight ahead, with a big smile on his face. She could tell that he was not breathing.
“Lance. Baby! Are you okay?” He didn't move or make a sound. She knew that he was gone. “Oh honey, I love you so much.” She held him close as tears ran down her cheeks. She noticed that he was holding something in his right hand. It was their wedding picture. They had been married in October, thirty years before, right here in this gazebo. The wind gusted, showering them both with multicolored leaves. This was his favorite time of the year.
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