Sherrie and Tom were quite a couple who loved each other dearly. After my own parents died, my husband John’s father and mother became more than just family, we were friends. John and I valued their wisdom and their guidance, especially on marriage. Sherrie passed away a few years ago and Tom died shortly after. I loved them both and memories of Sherrie, in particular, still make me smile.
I remember one special occasion like it happened yesterday. It began when Sherrie had asked me to help with some shopping in preparation for a wedding anniversary celebration she was planning for Tom. She wanted that perfect card, which had the perfect words…
I know these words are overdue,
But, I love you more than I can say;
Every time I see you,
You take my breath away.
You’re the love of my life,
You’re the one that I love…
Have I told you lately that I love you?
Have I told you lately that I care?
Have I told you lately that I could never be untrue?
When you tell me that you love me,
When you tell me that you care,
Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree.
“Oh, please. What a lot of mush.” Sherrie sounded exasperated.
It was the fifth store we had visited that sold greeting cards and we’d read dozens of silly poems. I’d had enough. Sherrie had given up. She replaced the last Anniversary card back in the rack and we left—empty handed.
“I tell Tom all the time I love him. He tells me all the time. Well no, that’s not quite true.”
Her comment made me laugh and we walked arm-in-arm to the exit and out to the car.
Sherrie and I were drinking tea on her patio a few days later. Her eyes sparkled as she shared some moments from their anniversary dinner. Sherrie had a way of weaving teaching and wisdom together with life experiences to tell a story…as well as making it fun. The following story about that special evening is just one of many she shared.
The aroma of roasting beef filled his senses the moment Tom entered the house just after six o’clock…exactly how I planned it. Our favorite romantic songs played quietly in the background, while two simple taper candles flickered in the gentle breeze from the rotating fan above a plainly set table for two.
“Something smells good.” It was his usual greeting, followed by a peck on the cheek. “Looks good too,” he added and opened the oven door to take a long whiff.
“I even made a lemon-meringue pie for dessert,” I called after him as he continued toward the bathroom to shower and change.
My diamond ring still held its sparkle, and for the evening, I let my hair fall over my bare shoulders. The softness of the satin evening dress, Tom bought me for Christmas, matched my mood of the evening.
His after-shower look made me smile. He looked relaxed after his long day and the scent of his favorite cologne drifted across the table and a wet strand of hair stuck to his forehead. He wore a shirt to match his hazel eyes which twinkled in the candlelight.
The music changed as if on cue. “Remember this song?” Tom whispered, as if to avoid drowning out the words.
“Yes, I remember. It was the song on the car radio the night you asked me to marry you.”
“You know, I love you more now than I can say,” he continued, his boyish grin still captivating my heart.
My throat constricted slightly as I thought about those mushy greeting cards. “I love you, too,” was all I could utter.
“I didn’t buy you a card,” Tom admitted quickly. “They were all so…”
“Mushy,” we finished together and laughed.
“I don’t think after 44 years we need a card to say how we feel,” I added.
“No, I guess we’re mushy enough.” Tom rose and took my hand. We stepped outside, where in the light of the rising moon; these two old mushies…danced the night away.
I loved Sherrie, and I loved her guidance. Yes, she was my mother-in-law but most of all, she was my friend and I miss her dearly. I miss our special shopping trips and the wonderful stories she told. Perhaps one day, I’ll have a daughter-in-law of my own to whom I can pass on these stories and share similar ones of my own.
References in Order: I love you more than I could say - Leo Sayer, Take my breath away - Jessica Simpson, You’re the one that I love - from Grease, Have I told you lately that I love you? – Rod Stuart, When you tell me that you love me - from “Lion King 2”, Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree – Tony Orlando, I love you more than I could say - Leo Sayer, Dancing the Night Away - Leo Sayer.
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