The Little Cabin

Rose awoke at 5 am, as she did every day, got dressed and headed down the stairs to the kitchen.  The coffee had been pre-set and was brewing, making chugging and popping sounds and emitting an inviting aroma.  The sounds and smells of a promising new day not going unnoticed, Rose managed a smile as she began packing lunches for the grandkids.  Methodically, she put together their choices:  yogurt and fruit for Kellie, ham and cheese on wheat, no mayo, for Sara, and peanut butter and jelly on white bread for Chad.  After putting everything back in the fridge to keep it fresh, she poured herself a cup of coffee and had a seat at the table.   She had about 30 minutes to herself before the Pearson family morning chaos began.  Rose cherished this early quiet time where she could sip her coffee and think her morning thoughts without interruption.

Rose had never been much for crowds or even a lot of kids.  Her grandkids, in fact, sometimes got on her last nerve.  They never knew it though, as she also wasn’t one to outwardly display emotion.  Oh, she provided the grandmotherly hugs and kisses, smiles and encouragement, and it was all genuine.  There was just so much more underneath, however, that she never dared let escape.  Those were, and had always been, her private feelings and thoughts.  No one had ever had the privilege or permission to enter except her husband.  A tear slowly trickled from the corner of her eye as she poured a second cup of coffee and stepped out onto the patio for a quick gulp of fresh air and a little perspective.

She was doing ok, living with her daughter and son-in-law and their three teenagers.   After Jack died the previous year, everyone had insisted that selling her house and living with her oldest daughter was the best possible move she could make.   How she missed her home, with the peeling wallpaper, creaking floors and even the leaky faucet.  Had she been too quick to listen to everyone else?  She and Jack had lived on that property since she was pregnant with Kate, her oldest.  Jack’s father had given them the land as a wedding gift and they’d built the house with the help of family and friends, and moved in just before Kate was born.  Both her daughters were raised there, and played among the beautiful trees and landscape which graced the homestead.  The house had sold quickly and for much more than she needed to live out her days comfortably.  Still, she would gladly give up every penny to be sitting in that house, having coffee with Jack at their kitchen table.  She smiled thinking about how he buried his face behind the newspaper and slurped his coffee just to annoy her.  Jack always did like to tease her.

Rose stepped into the kitchen to put on a fresh pot of coffee and began preparing breakfast for the family.  Not ready to let her precious memories go for the day, her thoughts shifted back to one afternoon in early summer many years ago.  She and Jack had taken a picnic lunch and set out for a lovely walk through their property.  They owned 20 acres and hadn’t seen most of it, so enjoyed an occasional walking adventure to discover what their land offered.  After about an hour’s walk along the northern most edge of the property, they made a most delightful discovery of an old cabin, sitting picturesquely in a meadow, adorned with beautiful trees.  Rose remembered thinking it was likened to a scene out of a storybook.   Their afternoon was spent exploring the cabin and surrounding grounds, and having their picnic lunch right on the little porch, while making up stories of who must have lived in that cabin so long ago.  She remembered looking at her husband over a lunch of chicken sandwiches and little bottles of wine coolers and feeling her heart swell with love.   She couldn’t imagine anyone being happier than she was at that moment.

Rose wiped her eyes and blew her nose.  She missed Jack so much.  How did she get here?  She felt so alone.  She wanted to hold him.  She wanted to feel his strength, his love.  She wanted to smell his scent.  She wanted Rose and Jack again.  It wasn’t supposed to be Rose.  It was supposed to be Rose and Jack.  Jack and Rose.  She had to stop crying because her family could not see her like this.  These were her private, precious feelings and she was not ready to share them.  Maybe someday, but not today.

Rose finished cooking the oatmeal and took the rolls out of the oven.  She set the table and made sure the jelly and butter were out.  She poured the juice and refilled the creamer cup.   All set.  The Pearson family began stumbling down the stairs, one by one.   Everyone was talking at once.  Rose served up some coffee to Kate and her husband, who were discussing finances.   Just for a quick second, Rose saw a glimpse of Jack in Kate’s eyes.  Jack was there in Kate’s dimples, in her smile and in her kind eyes.   Kate looked up and noticed Rose’s gaze and smiled questioningly, but Rose quickly turned away and tended to the kids’ needs.  Sara and Kellie both looked so much like their mother, and consequently, like their grandfather.   Both girls, although restless with that teenage angst, had Jack’s kindness and patience.  Chad looked just like his father, but she could see Jack in some of his movements.   Chad would be a strong man like her Jack was.  So strong.

Lunches doled out, coats, purses, brief cases and book bags located and dispersed, the Pearson family was out the door and headed on toward their perspective destinations for the day.   Rose closed the door, grabbed her coffee cup, and headed for her bedroom.   She took out her old sketching pad and sharpened up her pencils, then let her mind take her back to that beautiful little cabin while she sketched.  She would draw a picture of a perfect afternoon, then she would gather her grandchildren and tell them the story.  After all, Jack was a part of all of them and it was her responsibility to share his memory.   The memory of a lifetime.  The memory of the love of a lifetime.

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