30 October 2018

A Forty Year Tale

Flour-covered hands suspended their activities in the mixing bowl as she paused to gaze dreamily out of the kitchen window. Her concentration was lax, normal attentiveness to the job in hand completely awry. All morning her mind had centred on the reason for the forthcoming celebration rather than the preparation.

A grey squirrel darted up the path to the front lawn, then scampered up the chestnut tree causing two blackbirds to squawk their alarm. Watching this action, Joyce felt her own unease, a stranger suddenly in her own kitchen, as if she had been spirited there from a bygone age. The lounge clock struck eleven; each chime was like a signal that the finishing post was in sight. Was she really on the final strait of the forty year race?

Abandoning her baking, she wiped her hands on a blue and white towel and dropped onto a chair, uttering a huge, disbelieving sigh. Somewhat pensively she allowed herself to review the years, wondering at the swiftness of their passing, pondering on the perceptions she began with, the skirmishes, the adventures, and the myriad of achievements. It was a Saturday in September when she gambolled happily towards marriage. Who would believe that forty years could travel so rapidly into distant time?

Picking up a forgotten mug of coffee, cold now but welcome nevertheless, Joyce sipped the brown liquid. Grimacing at its bitterness she rested the mug on her knee, tracing the design of vines round the rim as she allowed herself to reminisce. Oh, the yarns she could spin, anecdotes both humorous and sad. How much she had learned. What advice she could give about life. So valuable; so precious. Unwittingly, she hummed the Wedding March, familiar still notwithstanding that matrimony was currently, incredibly, less popular with the modern generation. Don't know what they're missing, she murmured, rising to put the mug to soak.

In a more accepting frame of mind, less concerned now by the speed of things, she leaned against the sink and looked out at the garden: geraniums like a crimson sea, marigolds as bright as the sun, dahlias like orange orbs, a colour scheme as diverse as matrimonial occupation, and as satisfying.

The squirrel had been joined by another, somersaulting, racing, chasing, no time for contemplation. Like the forty years just gone. Shadowy images besieged her: her family, her children and their children, her husband guiding her from the altar where they made their vows.

Wilt thou take this man to be your lawful wedded husband?

Thrills whisked her insides as she remembered that glorious day.

I will, she had promised. I will.


Forgive me, but this is the time of year that Joe and I got engaged so I thought I would celebrate the occasion by re-blogging my feelings.


  1. I bet you miss Joe a great deal. 40 years is a long time. This post is a lovely tribute to him and your time together.

    1. Thank you, Joe. Yes, I miss him but I can only soldier on using the patience learned from him.

  2. Your words fit together beautifully. Thank you Valerie, for sharing your feelings.

  3. What a beautiful post, Valerie! I LOVE the final three lines because it says it all about your unconditional love and commitment to your marriage with Joe. I don't think I ever knew that this was the time of year when you and Joe got engaged. And what a wonderful time of the year to do so.

    In knowing you these past many years of blogging with one another, I always felt how much you and Joe loved and meant to each other.

    Again, beautiful post, my friend!


    1. Thank you, Ron. As I just mentioned to another Joe - my Joe and I got married two days before Christmas. The snow was thick but it didn't seem to matter.... well, it wouldn't, would it? Joe was a great guy and loved by all.

  4. Lovely post and the imagery of the squirrel and the cup brought your story to life. Its a good advert for marriage.

    1. Glad you liked it, Dave. Someone (not a blogger) told me the story was unreal. Little did she know!

  5. A lovely remembrance and tribute to love, Valerie.


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