A Question in the Ashes
Our little river cabin caught on fire from grease burning on the stove. Miles away from the nearest Alabama volunteer fire department, we tried to put out the flames with the garden hose. Hours later, amid the blackened walls and stench of burned furniture and plastic, we finally slept. The next morning, I wept as we stood in what was left of the kitchen. My darling reached up to the sooted ceiling with one finger and wrote, “Will you marry me?” I stopped crying just long enough to reach up and write, “O.K.” — Gita Maritzer Smith
Call Your Grandmother
She doesn’t realize how one phone call can affect a grandmother who lives far away. It was unexpected but so welcome. My 14-year-old granddaughter called me of her own volition with her just-purchased first phone. It wasn’t a text, or a message on Facebook, Twitter, Skype or Instagram, none of which I truly understand. It was a real old-fashioned phone call, her first to me ever. She called to mourn Notre-Dame because we had been there, just the two of us, on a recent trip. We shared our sadness and our love. — Iris Shur
Sleeping Through the Seasons
In the fall, her feet get cold when we lie in bed, so she curls her legs into me, molding her toes to the insides of my calves. In the winter, she wears fluffy socks and holds my ears because I’m suddenly the cold one. In the spring, as it gets warmer, I reach down into the covers to wrestle off her monstrous socks. My favorite is summer. In the summer, we sleep naked. — Megan Schippmann
“I Know Who You Are”
I am 25 years older than my partner, Deji. Both born in July, we celebrated my 75th and his 50th birthday last year. We called it our 125th birthday party. Our friends socialized while “Harold and Maude” played in the background. Despite that celebration of age, I recently felt lost while looking at my wrinkles in the mirror. I told Deji, “I don’t know who I am anymore; I don’t recognize myself.” He said, “Don’t worry, Gerri — I know who you are.” — Gerri Caldarola
An Open Door
We followed other prospective service-dog teams in a circle. Each time we stopped, Aslan pressed his golden head against my hip. “Choose me,” his brown eyes seemed to say. “I belong with you.” I agreed. But we still had to prove that we could work together as a team. I rolled up to a closed door, Aslan at my side. He tossed that great head of his, pushed the handicapped plate with his nose, then glanced back to make sure I had noticed. That’s when I knew he was mine. The door swung open. — Jeanne Marie McArdle
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