With a golden age about her, you would never know. She was so busy with her shovel and her trowel as I came upon her quietly working alone. She was making narrow walkways through her garden, placing bricks in neat, tidy borders, her day-dreaming drifting among the thorns and rose buds.
Planting, feeding - sowing, weeding, her flowers brighten everyone with her love in the sunshine of the hot, dry, dog-days of summer. Her pathways leading her where they may... a golden age offers choices that are hers alone.
A squirrel scampers down the trunk of the tree, curious, watching me gather blossoms for my table and a few for my friend needing to be remembered with happiness and beauty. She is startled by a garter-snake basking in the sun; it's surprised by her presence too, slithering away, it isn't anymore.
A pathway gently winds around her house, windows sparkling in the sunshine, the rays of which enter my heart. My love for her all these years beckons my constant return, much to my surprise.
There have been times I have come to her, lost and afraid, searching for the smile in her warm brown eyes, tears clouding mine. She is cherished as a precious gem, a glitter of delight as she offers comfort and concern with patience, understanding and fresh sweet rolls baked at dawn.
She has never met a stranger, everyone is her friend; she wants nothing more than goodness for everyone. There is wisdom in her knowing, her kindness never dims as she offers me direction, teaching me so much of life, about myself, about being a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend.
Her years are many and her temples turning gray, but her eyes still shine and sparkle - her calloused hands are strong, soft and gentle. In the fading sunlight, tiredness caresses her sun-browned face - each hour so precious because I don't know when she may be leaving. Until then, my love is with her all the more, my dear, gentle long-time friend, my mother-in-law.
And I watch him, who is always so giving but not always so quiet - giving his advice, he never seems wrong. His convictions, for sure, not generally mine, but usually somewhere close, slightly edging over my line.
Taking up his orange broom-handle walking stick, he gathers his dogs about him and steps through the gate with them scampering playfully about his slippered feet. He's never cross or angry, and you feel as though his wisdom could move mountains from the pathways before you.
I smile at his judgments, his criticisms, too much on some issues. At times I find myself questioning, "is his vision that much farther than mine?" He's always there as a loving reminder of what we have all meant to him, quick to tell us of his love as he hugs away our insecurities and fears.
As a grandpa he is wonderful, the sunshine in their tears. As a father, not always agreed with but the twinkle of mischief seldom missed as their eyes meet in mutual respect.
He has offered me solace, a smile, a hug when we've met; he calls me his daughter and I know that I am. A golden age has passed too quickly - I love him and honor him, this gentle, giving man, a life-long friend, my father-in-law.
Their fifty years of marriage, a life-time of many golden hours of happiness, occasionally over-shadowed by great sorrows, births and deaths, times of plenty and want, a whole lot of love taking them through the golden age.
They have provided a direct loving path for our family through our celebrations spent building traditions, offering lessons of learning, growing, sharing their love, friendship, kinship, and honor.
I salute your courage, your faith, the wisdom and love you give to one another, to each of us always. God bless you and keep you in His light and love forevermore.
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