Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Remembering Lilacs

Dear John,
 
I had another domestic day, but not as quiet as yesterday. I spent a good bit of the afternoon on the phone dealing with - you guessed it - insurance issues. All is resolved now. Cindy brought 3 dozen eggs by and the cat has been sleeping in my lap most of the evening.
 
I ran across this on Pinterest, and you know what it reminds me of. I'd been to Mackinac Island once when I was in my early teens, one year when we went to Canada thought the Sault instead of Windsor, but you'd never seen it. When we accidentally ended up spending a night in St Ignace on the way back from the Great Plains, I hadn't thought about it in years. We went back for our next anniversary week, and it became a tradition.
 
Over the years, it seems we did everything doable on the Island except spend the night, and that was your concession to me. I so loved taking the ferry twice a day - sitting in the front row on the top, regardless of the weather, in the wind and the spray, with a full view of the Island, the mainland, freighters passing through the Straits, and most of all, the water. Not that we could afford to stay on the Island, anyway. Staying on the mainland also let us eat twice a day at Java Joe's. We walked the Island, took the carriage tour, rented bicycles and rode around it and into the center, toured the fort. The only thing we didn't get to do was rent horses - you needed some riding lessons first, and we never got that done.
 
A lot of those years, you got my anniversary present on the Island; you knew how much I loved broken-china jewelry. We got to know the shop-keeper - every year, when we'd come in the door, he'd start pulling out his broken-china stock. The heart with the blue rose on it was your 25th anniversary gift to me. That's still my very favorite piece of jewelry.
 
Remember the year we happened to be there on the one day the Governor's Mansion is open to the public? That was such a treat! We had our picture taken on the porch - that's the best photo of us that was ever taken. I cropped myself out of it and used it for your obituary, and the whole photo is on Facebook and both blogs. You look just like you, not like you're smiling for a photograph. And you look healthy and happy. And you can tell from that photo how much we love each other. I have that photo on the piano in the living room, and I love to look at it. Of course I remember every detail of every day of your last three months, just how you looked at every stage, how you looked the moment you died, how you looked in the coffin. But that photo is the way I want to remember you - healthy and happy, having a good time, with me.
 
That's a long commentary on a simple photo of lilacs. And I didn't even start on nights in the hotel with the sliding glass door open onto the water, or the trips to Whitefish Point. Those are for another day. Thank you for all the wonderful memories! I wish we could make more, but I'm thankful for the ones I have. Lilacs, and the scent of lilacs, will always make me think of you, and those wonderful trips.
 
Love you forever,
Joan.

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