Friday, July 29, 2011

Forever Love

Book Contest: A few more days to enter the drawing for A Still and Quiet Soul: Embracing Contentment, to be held on July 31. Read Amazon user reviews here


In a tattered box at a garage sale, they lay, waiting to reveal century old secrets. Thumbing through a stack of miscellaneous items, I found two yellowed letters. Postmarked on November 17 and 18, 1908, two-cent stamps had provided passage from South Fairlee, Vermont to Bradford, Vermont.

                Later at home, I read the correspondence from “Ed” to “Miss Abbie B. Avery.” In Ed’s exquisite penmanship, his salutations were, “To My One True Love” and “My Dearest One.” I pieced portions of their romance together from his letters.

                Apparently, their affection had been concealed from friends and families because Ed addressed Abbie’s fears that the postmaster would become suspicious about their frequent letters. Ed wrote advising Abbie not to fret because soon they could announce their love to neighbors and friends.  Abbie kept an engagement ring hidden, too. The gold band a bit too large, Ed planned to have it cut down by a jeweler.

                Mixed in with Ed’s romantic musings were notations about everyday life, his coon dog, chopping wood, and a job “examination in N. Y. on December 8th 9 A. M.” He was hoping to land the job and fund their new household. If he didn’t, Ed had alternate plans. He wanted Abbie as his wife.

                Ed informed her about a “sad errand,” singing a solo at his friend Frank’s funeral. Frank’s widow once said about her marriage, “I should prefer to be with Frank in the wilderness than in a palace with anyone else.”

                July’s the month when I tend to think more about courtship, romance, and marriage. My grandson Adam, at age four, had just learned about weddings and marriage, and he told us that one day he would marry a girl and “have true love.”

                True love. David and my wedding anniversary is today, July 29, forty-four years. We plan to take a few trips in the fall when the weather in our region of the country isn’t so hot and humid. I’ve often said, it should be against the law in south Texas to issue marriage licenses during July and August because later in life because later anniversaries come in the midst of heat waves. Odd, though, the weather wasn’t a factor in July of 1967 when we dove into matrimony. The war in Vietnam loomed. Dave had already been drafted. We had no doubt that he would find himself in that war torn country. Within a few months Uncle Sam confirmed our doubts.

                A favorite excerpt about weather and love comes from Ogden Nash’s Summer Serenade: “When shirt is wet and throat is dry, Look my darling, that’s July . . . Shall we postpone our love for weather: If we must melt, let’s melt together!”

                Perhaps Ed and Abbie married on a chilly day, near Christmas. In one closing he wrote, “I am enjoying life greatly . . . before long we shall both be happy . . . The hour of darkness approaches, and I will say good night, my love. Yours forever, Ed.”

                A forever love for Ed and Abbie — I hope it was so. I hope so for you, too.   

                Index card verse for week 30: “So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth” (Malachi 2:15).

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