If our parents were still living, today (April 15) would be their 63rd wedding anniversary. Alas, they are no longer of this earth, but there are fond memories of anniversaries past. Mom always joked about their anniversary falling on “income tax day”, like maybe it was nice to have something good to celebrate on that day, rather than the specter of IRS deadlines. Of course, in these days of COVID the tax season is lengthened. Great for procrastinators, not so much for tax prep people I bet.
We had big parties for them on the milestone anniversaries. I missed their 25th (silver) as I was on a class trip that particular Easter break. But their 40th (ruby) was a big blowout held at the Sportsman’s Club between Park Falls and Butternut, with a meal and a dance and lots of folks having plenty of fun and reminiscing. Not sure if that place is even in existence any longer. Their 50th (golden) was held at the former Liebelt’s Supper Club right on Division Street in downtown Park Falls. It was again fun with the meal and the dancing and lots of folks having plenty of fun and reminiscing. I have photo albums full of pics from all the celebrations, and look at our younger selves in awe. How five little granddaughters all in pink dresses became high schoolers with no pink in sight in a short 10 years’ time span. How the two oldest grandsons, the only ones born at the time, went from suited young boys to almost grown men in those same 10 years. We all look so happy. All yet together capture in time, still untouched by the loss of even one… But time stops for no man, or woman, as the case may be.
Saturday past Rick and I went out walking in the woods and happened upon a spot my dad had logged many, many years ago. It’s difficult to explain, but I get this sensation walking through woods where he once worked. Wondering if he leaned against the same enormous popple tree I leaned against. Wondering if the ghost of a skidding trail that still exists was hard for him and my uncle to create? How did he figure out those things that totally elude me? Where to put the landing to deck the wood? Which trees to cut and which to save so it’d look as nice as it does today? I leaned against a big old maple and Rick said “you look like your dad”. Not that I resemble him really, but he had a love for trees, as I do, that could contradict what he did for a living, but somehow never did. I do feel closest to him in field and forest, because that is what he loved. So perhaps his spirit was riding my shoulder as I walked that old skidding trail not only because it was in the woods, but because he’d walked that trail too. I could even imagine him, chainsaw slung over his shoulder, carrying the “measuring stick”.
Mom I tend to feel closer to when indoors. Not that she was a totally indoorsy sort of person, far from it, but she came from a long line of house-proud women and she kept to that schedule come hell or high water. Monday was for this household task and Tuesday for that. When my house is as close to spotless as it can ever be I think “wouldn’t mom be proud?”. But she loved the outdoors too, especially the springtime and the color green. One of her greatest joys was sitting out on the deck or in a lawn chair just drinking in all the varied shades of grass and forest that were part of her backyard. She was not a gardener, oddly enough, even though she loved flowers. Dad was the one who planted and tended them. Lilacs are beginning to bud at my house; and how she loved the aroma of lilac floating in from an open window or from a stem plucked by one of us sitting in a jelly jar on the kitchen table comes back to me every season they are in bloom. I can’t begin to tabulate all the miles she and I logged together on walks. When she’d marvel at how each shade of green was unique and wasn’t that a wonderful thing? So as nature begins to green up, as I could clearly see when we were out walking that Saturday past, my thoughts strayed to her. Emerald was her birth stone too. Quite appropriate.
Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad. I’m glad I can still catch glimpses of you in nature. Miss ya though.