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Friday, February 8, 2013

On the Porch Sipping Sweet Tea

  •  Inspired by the song “Song for the Life “ by Alan Jackson

Jon Gardner sat on his front porch.  In his late eighties, he had been retired for many years and had spent a typical day such as he did today.

Puffy white clouds scattered across the sky.  Leaves of orange and brown filled the trees in his yard.  It hadn’t been stormy lately, but he could expect it within the next week.

Every morning he awoke before the sun.  He still drank coffee in the mornings, but in the restful afternoons, he would sip sweet tea and look upon his lustrously landscaped yard.

Today he got up as 5:30 in the early morning and made himself a cup of coffee.  He walked into his kitchen after getting out of bed, boiled water, and mixed it with instant decaf coffee.  It was cold this morning and he looked upon the frost on the window, timid about facing the daunting day.  Not to worry, it would warm up later today and he would be able to spend the afternoon in his usual fashion.

Jon’s wife had died five years back.  It had been a painful time in his life, she had been sick for a few years.  They had been married since they were both in their early twenties and he had been unable to envision a life without her by his side.  Yet, his fortitude allowed him to go on.

He sat on his porch today, sipping sweet tea he had made the day before.  His life of solitude brought with it, peace.

He could remember, despite his years, the day of his wedding and his beautiful young wife, Jessica.  It was more than sixty years ago, but he could remember it with clarity of sight.  The memory often brought tears to his eyes as he sat on his front porch.  On an early spring afternoon, he had stood at the front of the church which was filled to capacity with friends and family.  His best man and best friend, Thomas, stood next to him. 

The music began to play and his beautiful wife, wearing a long, white wedding gown, walked arm and arm down the aisle with her father as he prepared to give her away to marriage.

It was a long time ago, yet he remembered it clearly.  They had spent their honeymoon on Long Island along the eastern shoreline.

He thought of the many years with his wife as he sat enjoying this early autumn afternoon.  He took another sip of his sweet tea.  Yesterday, in the early afternoon, he had put a jug of water mixed with sugar and tea on the ledge and let it brew in the sun for hours.

Memories, once again, began to take hold of his thoughts.  Their first child, a son named David, had been born a year and a half after they were married.  David had long since been married himself.  He had his own children who had their own children, which now made Jon a great-grandfather.

David was Jon and Jessica’s first of three children.  Michael and Tammy were his other children and they had also been married for many years.

As Jon sat, memories continued to run through his mind.  He took another sip of his sweet tea.  He remembered one particular Christmas.  It was only one of the many that he spent with his three children and his wife.  They were all in their early childhood and Jon and Jessica were in their early thirties.  It was the early 1960’s and along with the many toys and dolls given as gifts to their children, Jon and Jessica bought a color television for the family.

The Christmas tree was in the living room, highly adorned with decorations.  After the individual gifts were given to each member of the family, Jon went into the garage where he rolled in a brand-new color television which had been kept secret from the children. 

It brought joy and happiness to his family for many years.

Other memories crossed Jon’s mind.  All of his children and grandchildren lived close, but he chose to live alone.  They would visit him on many different occasions.  Holidays, such as Christmas and Thanksgiving, would be spent with get-togethers which included the entire family.  However, this early autumn morning was spent alone with Jon contemplating his past. 

Once again, he thought of the day of his wedding as he looked up into the sky and at the foliage in the front yard.  He stood at the front of the church with his best man as Jessica and her father walked down the aisle.  A veil covered her face, but it could not conceal her beauty. 

The preacher announced, “I now pronounce you Man and Wife, you may kiss the bride.”

He looked to the front row on noticed Jessica’s mother attempting to hide her tears.  Jon lifted Jessica’s veil and softly kissed his new bride with warmth and love.

Jon sat in the yard and took another sip of sweat tea.  His eyes grew misty.  The memories were those of joy, not of pain.  As an old man, he had lived a complete life with nothing now but wonderful memories to cherish.

Jon took another sip of sweet tea.  He thought to himself, “Looks like it is going to rain later this week.”


Arlee Bird said...

A nice idyllic look at a life lived well. We should all be so fortunate.

A Faraway View
An A to Z Co-host blog

Wanda said...

Thanks for sharing a very touching story. Many good descriptions and great writing.

Many blessings,
Wanda S.

My Writing and Editing Coach said...

The photo accompanying this piece matches the nostalgic tone. I'd love to "see" the "lustrously landscaped" yard and other such details. What was planted and by whom would be just one more way to let us know how closely the couple worked together and how a flower or tree remains a living reminder of her.

Jagoda said...

Sweet story. I would have liked to read a scene showing how this couple overcame some adversity too.