Archive for the ‘Love Stories’ Category
No eloquent words, flowers, gifts or cards
could he give her, but just a token
gesture of his affection
with twisted smile, and memory all but gone.
Eyesight, hearing, failing too,
he tried to form his thoughts,
while expressing his love to her,
but his stroke had stolen from them so much.
Like the younger version of himself
with vibrant, baritone rich voice
when he once belted out old tunes,
are but broken phrases hanging on.
With faint muttering he attempts to sing,
to remember the lyrics, what he wants to say
like the day he swooned her heart with song.
But, she’ll treasure what they have today
for she fears the day when he is gone.
and prays to God it lingers on.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all.
Joyce E. Johnson © 2017
We were nineteen years old fifty years ago today (July 16) when we were married in Kansas City, Mo. We stood at the church altar exchanging our vows, pledging our love, and devotion to one another, feeling as if ready in some ways, yet somewhat apprehensive about what life might bring. Two weeks later, Wayne went to his appointment at his draft board to hear their decision.
It was 1966 and the draft was in effect for the Vietnam war in southeast Asia, which meant that all males, eighteen to twenty-five could be called up to serve. They all had to carry their draft cards with the status, age and identification current and listed, registered and ready. Those who refused to serve were arrested, or dodged service and ran off to Canada. Hundreds more protested in open street demonstrations and things became violent. If they were in college, or enrolled in one by the time they were drafted they were required to keep a GPA of 3.00 or better to be in an exempt status.
Our prayers, faith and an acceptance letter from the college where Wayne was enrolled that fall exempted him from serving, so it was California, “Ready or Not, Here We Come,” and we headed off to school and new jobs in Los Angeles.
Four years later in 1970 we headed back to Kansas City after our daughter’s birth and his graduation. Our second daughter was born before we moved out to Colorado, which was like coming back home for me. Though we met and married in Kansas City while living there neither of us were originally from Missouri. He was from Kentucky, and I, from Colorado.
Life during those fifty years threw us some curves; tough times that challenged our faith, and what seemed at times like ‘Mission Impossible’ assignments. But, we got through them, and grew stronger through the experience because we have a friend in Jesus, who’s always there, always forgives, and wipes away every heartache and tear. We learned to rise above difficult situations, not give up and overcome those obstacles, or mountains in our path in order to climb to this point in life, today. Whether we will make it beyond our fiftieth, God only knows, but we will be together, until death do us part, rich or poor. Our moments here on earth are temporary, fragile and unpredictable, but those with Him are eternal.
At the time of this posting Wayne and I will be in Alaska seeing some beautiful country and embarking on an Alaskan cruise enjoying this moment in our lives, celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary. And when I return I will have photos and stories to share of our journey.
Joyce E. Johnson (2016)
Recipients, waiting for hearts
Pray faith imparts
What most they need
From one’s kind deed
With hope the hearts that are reserved
For both preserved
That each receive
Will they believe
Grant to them both extended life
Husband and wife
And not by chance
Be their last dance
Joyce E. Johnson © 2016
Footnotes; The above poem is called a “minute poem” according to the writersdigest.com site. It is named for having a total of sixty syllables because a minute has sixty seconds, thus giving it that name. The poem contains three (verse) quatrains, each having twenty syllables, in a four line stanza with the rhyming scheme done in aabb/ccdd/eeff/ rhyme fashion. Cutting some unnecessary words, rhyming with them all in their right position, can be tricky, so I reworked this one several times. I always look forward to receiving my quarterly issue of Writer’s Digest magazine as it is packed full of great information and articles for writers, and gives me opportunities to practice new forms of poetry.
The above illustration is mine, written in a story form of a married couple, both needing heart transplants, and both receiving their new hearts at the same time. Because of Valentine’s Day coming up on February 14th (next Sunday) I have decided to use this poetic verse rhyme to tell my little story. I hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day and enjoy my little story. JEJ
It has been forty-nine years ago today when we stood at the altar of our church in Kansas City, Mo., at the young, tender age of nineteen. We said our vows, declaring our love, promising to cherish and keep sacred what we hold dear. A merging of two lives, one man, and one woman joined together in holy matrimony in a union that God created, ordained and blessed.
We have been not only blessed to have two wonderful girls and four grandchildren, but have had the blessing, support and encouragement throughout our marriage from family and friends. With a tenacious spirit and determination we hung onto hope to not give up when things got difficult. It was our faith and belief in a living Savior that kept us strong, believing for the impossible when there didn’t seem to be a way through those rough times.
Yes, I believe in God’s plan of marriage between one man and one woman, and it is in that kind of union blessed by Him that it not only will last and endure, but one where there is always hope. It is in that hope that assures us a new day, a new dawn when clouds are there upon our rising. The sun does come out, and we have the favor of God who loves us so much He does not give up on us when we screw things up. He does not bring us through the bad times only to give up on us just to throw it all away. I am so happy to have the best of those years today.
Joyce E. Johnson (2015)
Mellowed through the years
like a fine, aged wine
Love is that thing
that invites itself into
your heart and seeks
to make its home.
Even though it was such a long time ago I can still remember the year; 1966. We were engaged, planning our wedding and looking forward to our move to California to begin our marriage as 19 yr. old newlyweds starting college and new jobs in L.A. We were kids never having been out on our own before.
As the years rolled by I remember how busy we were, raising our girls, involved in so many things with our school and church, then as our girls grew up things slowed down a little and we could begin to relax. There were nice dinners out, roses and bouquets, those special dinners I fixed at home on holidays, and cozy nights on a cold wintry night in February, celebrating another Valentine’s Day expressing our sentiments and messages in cards like the one above my husband gave me one year.
The years were not all roses, or as sweet as aged, fine wine, but then I never really did like wine much. 🙂 But, roses I loved. They were like the kisses and fragrance of God’s sweet breath that blew softly upon our union, and when difficult times came the roses just made things all the more bright and beautiful when we learned that the best gift we could give each other was just respect. And when things seemed crazy, out of order or weird we learned how much better life could be when we learned to just laugh at our mishaps, and know that with every new day the sun did shine, even though at times it was behind a cloud. 🙂
Happy Valentine’s Day
Joyce E. Johnson (2015)
English: 1965 Ford Mustang 2D Hardtop
WHEN DARK CLOSES IN
1966 – Clear Creek, WA.
Scott boarded the southbound bus, and turned around to find her waving. He smiled, found a seat, and the bus pulled out, headed for Fort Lewis. He promised to write. She could only pray his letters would never stop, that he would return to her, and the child he knew nothing about.
There could not be a hole anywhere on earth deeper, or greater than the one she felt in her heart as she made the lonely drive home in his 1965 Ford Mustang. Even with a window down the scent of his sweat mixed with his after shave and soap he used when he showered lingered. She caressed the black, leather upholstered bucket seats. She knew how much he loved this car, spending hours buffing and polishing it after a wash. She would call his father and have him pick it up. One day at a time: it was all she could do, and hope for the year to pass quickly.
But, there was something she could not put off any longer, so locked it and reluctantly went inside where she knew her parents waited. They sat at the kitchen table in their usual place, reading the newspaper over their coffee. It was around the kitchen table where they had their family sessions, laughed, and talked about their day. This time an awkward silence filled the room, as if a pall of doom had followed her inside making its home there, uninvited.
“I’m very sorry, dear. I know Scott’s leaving has been a sad and difficult thing for you, but perhaps, when you return to school things will be easier then, and you can meet up with some friends there.” Erin said.
“I’m not returning to school in the fall.” Jennifer said, pointedly.
Her father’s head shot up, his facial expression always an easy barometer to read. His broad, bent shoulders stiffened, as he straightened in his chair. Jennifer did not look forward to this.
“What kind of nonsense is that? You’re going back to school. I won’t allow you to quit school, and mope around here over that boy.”
“I’m not going back, daddy. Not now. I need to tell you both something. About why I can’t. I’m…Scott and I… I mean, I am going to have a baby. I’m pregnant.”
Her words fell on them like the mammoth trees felled in the Olympic National forests where her father managed the logging camps. He could determine the exact angle and position as each was felled to the ground. But, he could not determine her fate. Right or wrong, alone or with their help, she would make her own way. Another long pause.
Erin McAlister found her voice. “Have you been to a doctor? How far along are you?” she asked.
“Yes, I saw the doctor. I’m three months.”
“Does Scott know?” Erin asked.
“No. I didn’t tell him. I’m not going to. Until he returns home. I don’t want anyone else to. I don’t want his family to know, because they will think it their duty to tell him. He has enough to deal with just being over there in that war.” The days of holding back tears, the stress: all of it was gone now, as she unleashed it all.
“Mom, could you get me some water. I feel…light headed.”
Erin got up, and brought her some water and a cold compress.
“Jenny. Jenny. What have you gone, and done?” Her father slowly shook his head. “Does anyone else know about this?”
“Dana does. I told her when I found out. I just wanted to share it with someone that… would understand.”
“How can a girl like that ‘understand?’ Someone who has no morals of her own.” Jim said, his Scotch-Irish brogue more noticeable when angry.
“Jim. That’s enough. Maybe she wasn’t taught the things we have taught Jenny, so what else would you expect? It is rather sad they let her do all the things she was allowed to do. She lives the way she wants.”
“Which is why our Jenny should not be hanging around with the girl.”
“Jim! Stop that kind of talk. You don’t know…”
“Daddy. I’m tired of you calling Scott, ‘that boy,’ and Dana, ‘that girl.’ They’re my friends. I love Scott. We plan to be married… when he comes home.” She cried into the wet compress, shoulders shaking.
“Jenny, it will be alright. Your father is just trying to be…”
“Sensible. Someone needs to be. I hope you have gone to confession, talked with the priest.” her father said.
“No. I don’t need a priest. They hide behind their confessional like an imposter as if afraid, or too ashamed of you to even look at your face, and tell you what you need to hear.”
“Jenny! That’s enough. You cannot speak that way. It’s…” Jim spat the angry words back.
“What? Disrespectful? Are they hiding from our shame? Or theirs? Aren’t they guilty of sin, too? Isn’t it God we should confess to, and ask for help?”
“God knows we can use his help.” Erin said, quietly.
Jennifer walked upstairs to her room. She picked up her rosary beads sitting on the night stand. As a child she was taught to practice the good Catholic rites of faith. A confession when she did things that were wrong, regular attendance at Mass, bowing and saying her prayers before the Virgin Mary. It all seems so pointless, so empty now.
She looked out into a clear night sky from her upstairs bedroom window. The moon was out, and the stars looked like shiny crystals scattered about. She wasn’t into astrology like some, but she found them more comforting than rosary beads.
She fingered the tiny diamond ear studs she wore. Scot had given them to her the night they watched the sky explode in every shape and color, bursting through the dark void on July 4th, over Puget Sound.
She went to bed, but slept little.
To be continued
Joyce E. Johnson (2013)
WHEN DARK CLOSES IN
Chapter VII – Ferry Crossing
1966, Puget Sound, WA.
They stood at the rail watching as the Space Needle loomed larger, closer, beckoning them back to Seattle’s metropolis. Their day excursion was coming to a close like the near perfect last three months of summer. The ferry’s wake from waves rolling in, then out, and in again to sea was hypnotic, soothing as she snuggled in his embrace. The choppy water sent cold sprays into their face as the wind smacked the sea with each assault. Seagulls squawked and flew between the quay and ferry announcing its scheduled return.
The official draft notice came that week allowing him two weeks to put things in order. He turned in his resignation at work, withdrew his fall enrollment from the engineering institute, had started packing up things in his apartment, said goodbyes to friends and family, and would report to Fort Lewis the following week. The remaining days went too fast with precious little time together.
They purchased some things from a store early that morning, then headed for the ferry crossings, pulled into a line with other cars being loaded and drove over to Port Angeles. They found a quiet shore, picnicked on the sand with smoked salmon, cheese and crackers, and bottle of wine, and browsed through quaint shops along the piers. Now, as the familiar and predictable came into view, they thought how soon it too, would end.
She would not be returning to Notre Dame for her sophomore year, but have her baby, work in town, live at home, and wait for his tour to end. Wait for the day when he would return to find her, and their child here. She had not told him that he would be a father. She was three months into her pregnancy. Larger, lose tee shirts and shorts helped hide the small swell of her abdomen. It was more difficult hiding the increasing nausea she had daily now. She did not want him going into a war feeling anxious, worrying about her, making himself vulnerable. She would try to not dwell on tomorrow, only today, this moment, looking into the setting sun over Puget Sound. But, the uncertain, unknown gnawed at her like dark shadows. She wanted only sunrises, with promising bright skies, and sunsets with restful nights.
Scott was the first to break the silence. “Are you feeling OK? Still having that nausea thing?”
“A little. I think it’s just… the choppiness of the water, crossing over today that made me a little queasy. But, I had the most wonderful time. It was one of the happiest days we’ve ever spent together. I wish we could make it last indefinitely.”
“There will be plenty more, Jen. I promise. When I’m back. You’re not getting away from me that easily, you know?”
She looked up, searching his eyes. “I don’t intend to. I will be here, Scott.” There is that little bit of extra that holds us together, more than a single day, or single moment in time.
“Good. Because, when I come back, after Vietnam, we’re going back out to Port Angeles again, to the same shore, same spot where we had our picnic, and carved our names in the sand. And do it all over again.”
And we will add another name in the sand, with ours.
“Do you think it’s presumptuous for of us to believe things can return to normal one day, after the war?” she asked.
“I don’t know, Jen. But, the one thing that will never change is that I love you. I always have. I always will. I think I knew it back when we were in high school.”
She laughed. “Every time you showed up at my front door, my dad would say, ‘That boy is back.’
“And, before him and your mom, I will get down on one knee and propose, so he can see that ‘that boy’ is serious about his daughter and wants to marry her.”
“I think sometimes you misunderstood my father. A lot of his bull crap was just his way of testing you. I think down deep somewhere he actually likes you. My mom, too.”
“Really? You could have fooled me. For a lumberjack I half expected him to pull out an ax or something from behind his back when I came over to see you. Your mom kind of looked at me with that little half-smile like the proper British folks do when they’re thinking something, but don’t want to really say it, so give you that kind of look. You’re the little bit of sweetness in between them.” He cupped her head in his hands and kissed her, not wanting to stop.
When their lips separated, she asked, “Do you want kids of your own…someday, Scott?”
“Sure. Why not?”
“Well, I just thought I would ask how you felt about them. I wanted to be certain we think alike on those kinds of things, you know, since you plan on asking me to marry you.” She smiled at him.
The skyline came into focus, moving from out of a heavy haze into a clear night, dusk settling like the noisy seagulls on wharves looking for food scraps.
“You bet.” Taking her hand, he added, ” Come on. Let’s go find my car.” Passengers started for the stairwells down to the vehicle holding decks to retrieve their cars. Scott drove off the ramp and they merged out into Seattle’s crowded, congestive traffic.
To be continued
Joyce E. Johnson