Monday, April 12, 2010

Romance, Yes.


I am spending the weekend with the most romantic man alive. He's an older man, yes. Quite a bit older than me. And pretty much anyone else I know, actually.

I am in an old two-story house with a wrap-around porch and drafty, single-pane windows and one electrical outlet per room, if you're lucky. I am in my old bedroom. It has been washed in a pale shade of blue, erasing the bright orange and yellow flowers from the walls, but not my memory. If I close my eyes, I can still see the wallpaper. And the patchwork carpet, made from scraps. And my tall white cabinet, with horse statues posed in every nook and cranny.

The house sits quite grandly, back from the street. Dad has lived there for 45 years. For the last seven years, he has been alone.

Together we go to the cemetery to visit my mother's grave. Today is their 63rd wedding anniversary, if you're counting. And we are. He helps me tear the price tags off the artificial flower bunches we purchased in bright, spring colors. Why didn't I bring my knife? he laments and I arrange the sunflowers in the vase below her name.

Millie.

Well, girl, he says. He always calls her that now. It's been a long time. I know he is referring to the length of her absence, not the length of his marriage. And then he starts to sing. Romantic, old songs about lovin' you always. He reaches his hand out to me. He wants to dance. A little.

We do. And I notice the ring on his left hand. He lost his wedding ring a few years ago while pruning his orchard. But he has a new one. On his ring finger.

I can see that it is hers. Resized to fit him.

Yes. I am spending the weekend with the romantic man alive.

7 comments:

Reisner said...

Ah this is such a beautiful posting. Thank you for it.

Amanda P said...

That made me cry. Love you.

Penny said...

What a beautiful post and I appreciate so much that you are there for him as much as any daughter can be. You are a good woman and a wonderful daughter. That moment at her grave would mean so much to him and to her. I hope that Mom was watching and remembering and feeling oh so grateful for Love. For we all love her but he must miss her so much. Thanks my dear . I needed to read this today.

Brooke said...

Dianne,my mom said you wrote a beautiful post about Gma & Gpa's anniversary so I clicked over to read it and I'm so glad I did. I'm with Amanda and crying now.
Grandpa is an amazing man. He was, and still is such a loyal husband to your mom and such an amazing father to you. Thanks for being there for him. I'm sure it meant the world to him!

tawny said...

Ohh seriously this post was amazing....all the feelings and emotions. You are such a great writer. Loved the dedication.(I imagined it all as you said it..) AND I LOVE Grandpa and Grandma so much. Such examples of TRUE love.

Mari (Costa) Gamez said...

This post made my eyes all teary, and I'm not even family! One of my favorite things we did when I went home with Amanda for New Year's was going to you Father's house! I still talk about the amazing mandarins we ate, how beautiful the sunrise was, and how sweet your father is. Thanks for that memory! Love you and your family!

Jan & Carol Van de Wetering Family said...

What a sweet experience. I've been enjoying your various posts from time to time, coveting your ability to articulate and create scenes in the mind.

Losing someone you love so much is inexpressibly difficult, and surely acknowledgement and love from anyone, even one whom you do not know is comforting. Love to your Dad from me.