The Saturday morning arrived with a fanfare of birdsong and the golden sunrise outside his open bedroom window of the summer cottage. This cottage was weatherbeaten, but it had character. White, cotton, curtains billowed playfully in the yellow glow. Jake smiled happily as he took in the beautiful scene from the bed. He sat up with back against the headboard. The light splashed across his legs under the sheet. Wiggling toes made the shadows dance with the sunlight. Magical! Made him feel like a boy again.
He gave a mighty stretch to chase away the stiffness from the night. Charlie horse tried to tense up his thigh making him wince. Nope, old boy, you ain’t as young as you think. Jake massaged the area, and reminded himself to take his meds. Grabbing his cane which leaned against the nightstand, Jake pulled himself up and started the morning trek to the bathroom.
After morning meds and a quick shower, the next stop was the kitchen. In the refrigerator, he had prepared a breakfast of yogurt and fruit the night before. It was in a paper sack waiting for him. The sack went into the top of his knapsack, and out the door he went.
The stairs from the porch to the path took a little bit of time. He was still getting used to maneuvering with a cane. Once to the path, he wandered down to the lake. Taking in the sights and sounds of a new morning, he was grateful to be right here right now. A duck glided in from over an oak tree across the way. It lit gracefully onto the lake. The wind had stilled, and the lake was like a sheet of glass. It reflected everything perfectly.
Jake made it to his destination. It was an old wrought iron and mahogany bench someone had placed here long ago. This was where he came to think and meditate. No phones to bother him. No kids to stop by. No intrusions. It was exactly what he needed.
He laid his knapsack on the left side of the bench. Then, he eased himself gently down onto it. Sighing, Jake looked all around like a child on Christmas Day. Everything seemed fresh and new, even though he had been here many times over the years. The difference was the changes in his life. His wife, Martha, of 50 years suddenly died of a heart attack six months ago. His world went dark then. Took a while to regain his step after that. His oldest daughter, Sherry, had been a big help. She was such a comfort.
Then, his business closed because of the bad economy. The accountant had told him it was better to shut the doors and retire. He would be able to make ends meet that way. Grudgingly he agreed, and went through the process of becoming a private citizen and not a boss. In a way, Jake was relieved. It was a heavy load to take care of his employees and customers.
Now, he was free. Whatever he wanted to do whenever he wanted to do it was just fine. He couldn’t be extravagant, but he was content. That made all the difference.
Taking out his breakfast, Jake said a silent grace, and partook. When the last bit of banana was eaten, he cleaned up the remains and placed them in the paper bag.
His old bible came out next. Different passages came to mind. He read about Daniel in the lion’s den. Then he read about Ruth and Jonah. These were friends of his. Of course, Jake ended with the Beatitudes. He knew that Jesus was looking over his shoulder as he read. With a fervent prayer, he lovingly closed the book.
A memory of Martha at the lake played out in his head. He saw her picking wildflowers, and coming to sit by him on this bench. That was a wonderful vacation. It would always be precious to him. He missed her, but it didn’t seem to hurt so much as it once did. Jake blew a kiss to heaven for her. His love would never end.
Jake knew that one day he would join her. That didn’t really bother him much. His faith in Jesus would guide him home to Him, and he would be with her again. What a joyful day that would be!
The hours ticked gently by. Soon it was noon, and he needed a nap after lunch. Bending down, he grabbed his cane from the path. He balanced with it until he was standing. Then off he went to the little summer cottage by the lake.
2013 © Dawn L. Huffaker
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