It was the last Sunday in October and Mom woke with an inspiration. She had watched the colors of the leaves changing from the window that year—taking in the brilliance one moment at a time. She craved a walk outside.
“Wake up,” she whispered into Dad’s ear. “I’ve had an inspiration. I want you to walk to the store with me. I want to get Morning Buns for breakfast.”
Dad watched her as she rose slowly and walked carefully into her dressing area.
“It’s daylight savings time, darling. Let’s change the clocks first,” he whispered back. “Are you sure you’re up for a walk…?” He wondered where this sudden burst of energy had come from.
Mom was already layering on her fleece pants and hoodie. “Are you sure it’s this Sunday?” she asked.
“Oh yes,” he said more to himself than to her as he was fidgeting with the clock.
So together they went through the house, room by room, setting the clocks forward an hour.
This will mean the store is open by now, she thinks to herself as she sits down on the bench by the door to put on her shoes. She knows it will take her husband a while to get ready so she puts the tea kettle on and opens the door to get the Sunday paper. In the upper corner she reads the words: DON’T FORGET TO TURN YOUR CLOCKS FORWARD NEXT SUNDAY!
She considers leaving all the clocks as they are, so they won’t forget next Sunday, but instead sets to work changing them back, all the while chuckling to herself. It’s the little things that entertain me these days, she thinks, the funny quirks of growing old together.
Her balance is off and her breath labored as she reaches, once again, to open the door of the grandfather clock—a wedding gift from her mother over 60 years ago—to gently move the hands back an hour.
“I’m ready.” Dad says, zipping up his jacket.
“No you’re not. There are still clocks in my office and in the bedroom that need changing.”
“I did those.”
“You did those incorrectly. We were one week early.”
She made a small list of the things she wanted to buy at the store then, slipped it in her pocket, zipped her coat all the way up so it covered her chin, put on her cap, and they were out the door.
The fall morning air was crisp and the hill to the store, steep but she hustled up the sidewalk. Again, Dad was amazed at her energy. They were the only shoppers in the store and it felt as though they had entered a castle. The bright colors of the fruits and vegetables surrounded her. The smells from the bakery made her hungry—something she hadn’t felt in a long while. She savored each moment as she experienced it.
Dad went to the counter where the Morning Buns were usually displayed and found that there weren’t any..
“Honey, they don’t have any today.” He was disappointed.
“That’s your problem,” she says in response. “You don’t know how to shop. You don’t read labels and you have to learn to ask questions.”
He had spent hours at the store just the day before, trying to find the items on her list to make chili. He had come home with the wrong beans and sizes of cans. She had been thankful for the extras she found stored in the cupboard.
“Do you have any Morning Buns?” she asks the baker with her contagious smile.
“Yes, I just don’t have them out yet.” She turns to Dad and says, “See?”
They leave the store with two Morning Buns, a cruller, a jelly-filled donut along with the other things on her list.
The morning was magical—the movement, the air, the splendor of the food on display, as if it all were for them alone to enjoy. She marveled at God’s beauty.
“How amazing God’s earth,” she says as they walk home.
How amazing her energy this morning, Bill thinks as he walks closely beside Dee, carrying the groceries in one arm and holding her right hand with the other.
They sit at the kitchen table eating the fresh fruit and delicately layered, cinnamon crusted pastry.
“Food has never tasted so good”, she says as the sun streams in through the window. It warms their shoulders and creates a rainbow pattern on the hardwood floor beneath their feet. It’s their first meal of the day and it will prove to be their last together.
Deb, all of your stories are beautiful, sometimes funny, sometimes touching, sometimes just plain charming — I loved the Tappy Mouse story! This one is especially special … such beautiful images and such tender evocation of love. Thank you so much for your stories that always enrich my day.
What a great story. I loved Dee very much. I learned lot from them both. I am blessed to know them both.
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