“How was your doctor’s visit and anniversary luncheon?” I asked.
“Twenty-nine years, I think it is time for a new wife.” he sighed.
“Who could be more perfect than your lovely Abigail! Besides, who else would put up with you for twenty-nine years,” I countered.
“You would make a good candidate,” he said, a twinkle in his green eyes.
“Ah, been there twice, I don’t think I’m the marrying type, besides, I don’t believe in polygamy.”
I could tell he was tired. I told him it was OK to doze off, I wasn’t going anywhere. We settled on the porch and looked out across the field to the yellowing leaves. The two brown cows have moved to the pasture for the winter and were standing stock still. Were they confused? Tired? Lazy in the warm October sun? “That one looks up at the house all the time. I think she sees me.” he said quietly.
Though there was a breeze, we decided to go out. I bundled him in a sweater, down coat, scarf and his cap. He reminded me his mittens would be nice on a day such as this. With two canes tapping , we walked to the sheep pen. I dragged the wheelchair awkwardly behind me as I slipped my arm through his to steady him. This morning I had purposely donned my barn jacket with all the pockets. He likes to gather things on our walks; acorns for the swine, carrots from the garden and beans from the greenhouse. He points out the perfect specimens, I scramble to collect them.
Scrambling to collect the best!
At the sheep pen, he asked to sit. I positioned the chair by the fence and squatted beside him. We sat comfortably in the sun watching the ewes browse through the dead grass.
From there I pushed him up the hill to the greenhouse. The chair wouldn’t budge in the sand just before the dip downhill to the structure. He wanted to walk. Once inside, he leaned against the door frame while I raced back up the hill and dragged the chair down. He sat in the moist warmth, identifying all the leafy greens and slowly chewing fresh chives. I wandered up and down the rows, marveling at soccer-ball sized lettuce, delicately lacy salad greens and vibrant red chili peppers.
When my pockets were full, we started back up the rocky hill. More than once I questioned my wisdom at allowing him to walk down to the greenhouse. We picked our way along slowly, trying to find the hardest ground for him to set his canes, while avoiding the washed out rocky areas. When we reached the top, he straightened slightly and gazed across the field just as the sun chased a cloud shadow into the tree line.
“I am coming to a time in my life when I will die soon.” I listened, unconsciously holding my breath. “At this time it is good that the body requires you to move slowly so you are able to focus on the small things around you; the beauty.”
I hugged his arm tighter and managed to whisper, “I treasure our times together.”