I had originally set out early this morning with a different photographic mission in mind. The tugboats that I thought would be out in the harbor were instead tied up in an area that I could not get to. I still had time before one of my favorite coffee shop opened, so I decided to take a walk. Along my route in downtown Portsmouth, NH, there is some amazing artwork on some of the old buildings. I have walked and driven by these creations many times over the years, but this morning I was really seeing them for the first time. The colors and the detail are so real and in the deserted streets they were bigger than life. The figures seemed to reach out to me, so I grabbed my camera and decided to share.
On my mother’s 90th birthday I brought her daffodils. They were a generous bunch with big yellow faces bopping in a glass vase with a yellow ribbon tied around it. I put them on the little table next to her bed were she was sitting all propped up on pillows. As we talked, she would glance over at the flowers and tell me how much she liked them. Daffodils were always one of her favorite spring flowers.
Today my mother would have been 96-years-old. She told me that ninety was as far as she wanted to go. A woman who stuck to her guns, she passed away a few weeks after she turned 90-years-old.
As I was doing some errands downtown today, I happened to stop into one of my favorite boutiques that offers hand-crafted fair-trade items. I came across a glass pendant of blues and greens. The colors came together to form a tree with spreading limbs. I couldn’t resist it.
When I got home and unwrapped the pendant, I again marveled at the beautiful colors and the tree design. I realized that blue and green were my mother’s favorite colors and they are also mine as well. I also love big yellow daffodils and every spring I fill my house with vases full of them.
An old man sits by his wife’s bed holding her hand. He knows that she can hear him telling her how much he loves her. She opened her eyes and looked right at him with a trace of a smile. But that was a while ago. Before that she even squeezed his hand. They have been married for over 60-years. He told me that just the other day.
I move quietly about the room, picking up half-filled coffee cups and day-old containers of juice and water. His wife’s white hair and translucent skin seem to blend right into the white sheets and blankets. Before I leave, I ask him if he needs anything? He looks up at me, squinting behind thick glasses. His eyebrows are so thick and overgrown. He reminds me of a grey shaggy dog wearing glasses. He tells me he is fine. He smiles slightly and nods. He goes back to his wife. I think that his wife will be gone by morning.
The other day, I took a walk through a favorite greenhouse and nursery of mine. A haven of color, warmth and hope. I came across shelves of potted daffodils and I took a photograph of the bright yellow blooms. I walked out to my car hopeful that in a few weeks spring will really be here. A long dark winter is slowing coming to an end, spring is near and the cycle of life continues.
Nothing is more inviting then a farmers market in the dead of a cold winter.
When I went to visit my mother on her birthday, I found her sitting up in bed looking peacefully out the window. She smiled when I entered her room. There was something dramatically different about her, she seemed to be in a state of grace.
She looked so young. Her checks were full and pink and her green eyes were like twinkling jewels. There was not a line or wrinkle in her face. She practically glowed.
I kissed her on the cheek and wished her a happy birthday. She told me that she had been waiting for me. I could tell that she was happy to see me. My mother had been happy ever since she had told me her secret.
My mother had fallen in love a few months before her 90th birthday. It was a May-December romance and it was a secret.
The man who my mother had fallen in love with was almost 40 years younger. He worked as a maintenance man at the nursing home and was also a relative of the family who owned the facility. My mother said that their relationship would be frowned upon by the owners and the staff.
My mother told me that this was a “true love story.” “It was the kind of love that only came along once in a lifetime.” She told me that this love affair was so special that I should write about it.
I thought about what she said. I made a mental list of all the people who worked at “The Pines.” I thought that I knew most of them. I knew the maintenance man and he was in his 70s and no relation to the owners. It didn’t matter, I knew what would make my mother happy.
I pulled my chair up close to her bed and took out the pages that I had written. My mother had told me the beginning of her story, now I was able to give her an ending:
It was late, almost midnight when he opened the door to her room. She was waiting as planned. She was sitting on the edge of the bed wearing her prettiest dress. She took his hand and they headed out the door. They crept silently down the hallway and out the back door.
Holding her hand tightly in his, he led her into the warm spring night. They headed into the woods, moonlight lighting their way. When they came to the end of the woods they found themselves in a small meadow. My mother walked into the middle of the field and looked up at all the stars in the sky.
She reached up into the night sky and and the stars came down around her, spiraling into twinkling stairs. My mother turned around and looked into the eyes of her true love. Hand-in-hand, they climbed the stairs to a place where they could be together forever in love.
My mother passed away shortly after she turned 90. In real life my mother had not been lucky in love. It pleases my to think that she finally got her chance at true love. Sometimes you just have to re-write your story.