Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Threefold Cord (04/12/12)
TITLE: Together At Last
By Vicki J. Cypcar
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Alfred loved Kansas and farming -he had soil in his veins – farming was his heritage. He would daydream about how he and Megan would marry someday and have a farmhouse full of red-haired children. He took Megan to see The Wizard of Oz to convince her that there was no place like home -or Kansas for that matter. But Megan dreamed of going back to Ireland, she complained that Kansas was too colorless and flat. In fact, she said the Emerald city in The Wizard of Oz made her downright homesick. To Megan O’Brian, Kansas would never be home.
Alfred’s heart broke when Megan left the day after high school graduation to go back to Ireland. Before boarding the plane she reached down into her pocket and pulled out a lock of her hair. She had braided three strands tightly, explaining how it signified the two of them and the love they would always share. Then she promised Alfred that someday she would return. She kissed him on the cheek before boarding, her wavy red hair shining like silk.
Alfred never married; he worked his farm until his stroke in 1983. The postman had discovered Alfred laying out in front of his barn with Mollie his Irish setter lying next to him. Alfred’s hand was frozen closed. At the hospital they were able to pry it open, at which time they found the threefold cord of hair and placed it with his other belongings. Alfred never regained use of his right side after that. Friends from church were kind enough to renovate his farmhouse with wheelchair ramps; but a crippled farmer is a bankrupt farmer. In 1985 he sold his farm and moved into an apartment with his loyal companion Mollie.
Upon hearing the news of Megan’s death he found it comforting that although she had never returned she had purchased the cemetery plot beneath the massive oak tree right next to his. Alfred fondly remembered the two of them sneaking into the cemetery one night so he could engrave their initials into the bark. He remembered their first kiss beneath it.
Alfred’s body was tired and worn. And now - just knowing that Megan was no longer alive, the world seemed empty and joyless. Megan’s sister Francis sat down next to Alfred In the pew and whispered, “You know- she never stopped loving you Alfred, and she wanted you to have this. “ Francis gently placed Megan’s pendent in Alfred’s hand and smiled.
As the organist began playing Amazing Grace, Alfred brought the pendent his lips and wept.
Just three days later, Alfred Murdock went to bed and peacefully passed into eternity.
As the weeks went by Mollie could be found lying next to the snow-covered grave of Alfred Murdock. This had become a daily ritual for his beloved pet. Pastor Tate would coax Mollie inside each night for dinner, but she would return to her vigil after eating.
It wasn’t until St. Patrick’s Day that Pastor Tate went to retrieve Mollie and noticed a carving in the old oak tree - It read: Alfred and Megan - together at last.
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