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Donna Flood
A is for Anniversary

Saturday morning, coffee on the counter, Garth on the radio made for common ways to start a morning in Oklahoma. Margaret knew this music wasn't exactly the most popular setting for the wake-up call but today she didn't care. This was a day to wind her way back over the wide highways for the fifty-year marriage anniversary of old friends. Somehow country music with the words singing of the true ways of life seemed most appropriate.  Forget about all the music lessons of more cultured and disciplined times. Dolly was singing  “Love is like a butterfly, and  'our love is like butterflies and daffodils.”

“Suits me just fine.” Margaret thought.

Colds and flu were just a let down from the carelessness of the holiday season. Her family all had done their bit to the misery of sneezing and coughing.

“Oh yes,” Margaret was thinking, “I'm very ready to go back to a simple time and place today.”

“Well  he's lost his woman, his dog, and his pick-em-up truck.” Margaret heard her mother say,  as she switched off the radio.

“I guess this is the end of gentle daisies, butterflies, and daffodils for the moment anyway,” Margaret thought.

“What shall I wear? Cowboy, tight britches?”  She knew some would be wearing that, but somehow riding more than fifty miles in a small sports car with tight pants wrapped around her wasn't exactly her idea of pleasure. Instead she chose a dress with a loose soft fabric. It wasn't overly dressy or too casual either. Margaret felt there must be some joy about being this age. Didn't matter what one wore.  Friends and family were more into their own aches and pains of age,  anyway?

It was only about twenty more miles to go but Margaret felt thirsty. She had not had time to grab a bite to eat so the little country quick trip didn't let her get by it. She was walking up to the door about the same time with a tall cowboy. After having lived for decades in and out of the city she never, anymore, expected anyone to hold a door open for her. This man took several long strides up to the door. As he swung it easily open, she had a moment to observe his placid manner. As all the men in high heeled boots threw their shoulders back  to balance their stance,  so did this man. He was looking down at her with eyes in narrow slits. She knew it was a way to block out the light, as an outdoor's man was accustomed to doing. So many of the ranchers did not wear the broad,   brimmed hat anymore and she did miss this.  Still and all, the pleasure of having a gentleman swing a heavy door open was all right, she felt. Why was this such a nice gesture? Maybe because it seldom happens in the hurry up rushing worlds of the career woman or plain housewife for that matter. In fact, some independent women are even put off by the act.

It was early but all the places were taken in front of the community center. Parking toward the end was easy enough. If she had forgotten about the naughty swift breezes  it wasn't but in a moment  she was reminded of its ways as the small gift package the woman carried was rudely jerked.

“Oh no,  you don't!” She spoke to the little boy like personality of the wind. “I'm wise to you!”

Margaret was so glad she arrived early. It gave her a few minutes with her friend, who looked so very lovely in a tailored red dress. Her twin sister was standing next to her.  It had been since they were twenty years old they had last visited. The twin lived and worked in a city and never did the two women's path's cross. However, Margaret's friend had always kept her up on the latest with her sister. The son who stood beside her now was no longer the sprite of a twelve-year-old boy. Instead, he was a tall, handsome, successful looking man. The passage of time was like a blowing of prairie wind. Once the happenings of so long-ago  are here and then it is still and gone.

The community center was changed from the once utilitarian service into a house for memories matched by the light  from gold stars and sprinkles strewed in a playfully random pattern down the middle of the tables. Tiny light bulbs flickered around the edges where an  elaborate chandelier held  lit candles.  The wisps of  light told a story about what a marriage endures over a fifty-year period of time. There are the bright moments amidst periods of less,  brilliant happenings. Each is important in their own way.

As the couple cuts the cake and shared a glass of champaign it was truly the moment when golden memories are caught. All the joys that love will bring,  becomes a party to the song to speak of the shadow of their smile. An onlooker might think this was only another couple having a fiftieth anniversary. In reality, the strength of their life was a moment in time to inspire anyone who had a desire to see an aura of beauty and strength  surrounding  them in the way of children and grandchildren who obviously loved them so well.

Once in a lifetime one is gifted with the pleasure of such an event. To have been able to share it was another memory added with their joined lives through friendship.  This was too, a bright moment inspiring hope and a wish to continue walking through the good and the  burrs of daily living.

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