The neighborhood trees hang heavy with out of reach fruit and our backyard has become a bird playground, swinging from branch to branch, sailing tree-to-tree, suckling on sun-ripened plums that drip with juice.
Our giant apple tree has turned into a barroom full of bragging Robins with their chests puffed out, tough talking, cigar smoking Jays, nervous Wrens and groups of fat pompous Quail gossiping at the corner table.
It’s so long ago now, if you measure by time, merely moments if you don’t.
We were, and remain, Barb and I, high school sweethearts; now intertwined like some great elm we go about our life as one, quick thoughts over the phone and precious moments together.
It’s 1970 and we’re flying down that old two-lane highway from Redmond to Bend, sweet Barbara and I, in a glistening, orange, Chevy Camaro that Pop bought me as a redemption for him disappearing for a drunken week with some cocktail waitress.
Used up the tip money Momma had been laying aside for my college education to do so, true, but that was just his desperation showing through and for the moment he basked in my youthful admiration of a wish fulfilled.
“Oh I love this song, she says, turn it up, turn it up, ”
The window’s down, Barb’s crimson hair captures the sun, and its early fall, our high school senior year, we’re off for the afternoon, that highway running on forever.
Now, a lifetime later, she softly sleeps down the hall as I coffee myself awake; daybreak is only silent moments away.
The dogs surround her, stretched out, content, heaven in a darkened room.
The Camaro is junk somewhere and that highway is now four lanes rutted with use, but in my life if I never get another thing right, I’m blessed each day just to see my beloved wife’s smile.
Have a wonderful week, enjoy the last gasps of yet another fading summer and hug the ones you love.