Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Happy (07/12/07)
TITLE: So Much More
By Leigh MacKelvey
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The hum of the traffic on the highway behind our property somehow assures me. I take your hand in mine and run my fingers over the rough calluses that are the trophies of your labor. A water color painting of pink posies floating around yellow and orange splots rise above us as the Carolina moon swallows the sun. Soon we will be wrapped in the stars as we rock the long day into night on the front porch of our home.
Our home. Years of praying that the rent would come in time for the monthly deadline; years of drought and deadened crops, and through it all God provided. The rent somehow came and the children were fed, even if only potato soup. You, yes, You, my dear old man, were the one who refused to let me lose faith.
"Now put the tissues away, Belinda, you've had your cry. Time to take my hand and look up with me. It's from there our help will come."
Oh, how I admired your dependance on the Lord. Nary a problem arose you didn't point to God instead of complaining. Then time came when we were able to put a down payment on this farmhouse. The creaky floors, flapping shutters and never-ending repairs have sheltered us and we've called it our home, our blessed home.
Out back is a tree. Under it, sunk into the ground, is a small round marker. Sammy. Our Sammy lived but two short months after his birth in the upstairs bedroom. I thought I would just sit under that old Weeping Willow tree that towers over his grave and weep until someone put me in my own grave. But you gathered me in your arms, took me inside and talked to me through the night about the wonder and the joy Sammy had been to us for two months and how we would never have had that same joy in all our lifetime. Now tiny tendrils of baby ivy curl around his marker and I can smile at the Weeping Willow tree.
Janie. How long ago it seems. The storm outside beat against the house and knocked over two pine trees beside the driveway. I was frantic because your truck stalled out and Janie was gone. She and Eddie had decided they were in love and plenty ready for marriage. My goodness, sixteen and seventeen were not my idea of two youngins headed for wedded bliss. I stomped and yelled, while you got the engine fixed. I heard you softly praying for our daughter, asking God to protect her and take her along His perfect path. Turns out, they had some lick of sense and came home later, soaked to the bone. My house dress was dripping after Janie flew into my arms and we hugged for ten minutes as she cried and told me they figured they couldn't live on the $15.45 between 'em. They were right about each other, though. Five years later, with our blessings, they had the sweetest wedding in the chapel down by the lake. I babysit quite often 'cause Janie has a job to help make ends meet.
Well, now, what about Frank? He got himself in trouble with the law. I drove myself crazy wonderin' where we messed up with him. You said God didn't promise us no rose garden and sometimes we can only have faith that we instructed him in the ways of the Lord and "God will catch up with him and Frank will to make his own choice."
Ever so gently, I put my head on your shoulder and you bend yours so that your lips brush my forehead. In a minute, when the mosquitos decide to come for their evening snack, we'll go into the house and up the creaky steps. You'll pull down the covers, place your uppers in a jar and I'll slip on my cotton nightie ... the one that smells like jasmine. Then I'll slide under the sheets and wait for you to put your feet on mine for warmth and pull my head onto your chest. I will tell you, as I do most nights, that this is so much more than happiness.
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