With hair as white as fresh snow in the sunshine a woman of a certain age sits patiently upon a bench and daydreams of the years gone by.
She sees her dear brother Julius one branch lower on the tree they loved to climb and her handsome friend Willi looks up at her from the ground below.
That memory fades and the sound of boots along the cobbled streets
of her small town mix with thunder made by cannons and she shivers for a brief moment and she sees terror in the eyes of the window of her reflection.
An inward breath and she Is present and grateful for the long and impossible journey that she and Albert began based solely on the blind faith that comes from the infallibility of young love. A journey to lands that spoke in a language she had yet to master.
She once confessed that of all the children form her village everyone would agree that she was the least likely to travel, to leave her family to leave her first playmate her brother Julius and her dear mother to travel abroad. And that was true until she met her Albert.
She beams with pride about her two daughters and with remorse for the one wee lass she left behind in Glasgow. She thinks of her children’s children attending a recital, dancing at their weddings and a smile tugs at her lips as the faces of the little ones appear, the faces of her great grandchildren those bound by blood and love and those just bound by love.
I sit beside her on the bench and her friends come by to greet her. Each of them have shared a cup of tea and words of wisdom and words of comfort with her. She touched so many people through her work at the Y and in the last few years her journeys downtown. Her friends are young and old and come from every walk of life. She has made deep and lasting friendships theses past decades.
We have spent many Sundays, just the two of us doing errands or taking a drive, meandering along the back roads of Connecticut and Westchester or the towns along the Hudson. I would turn down a road we had never been on before and I would say. Let’s get lost. She would always laugh and we would end up pointing out the sights to each other. The awesome view of a lake or river an interesting house and grounds or the beauty of the trees on a fall day.
We would often talk about her youth, about her husband, her family and friends. We would discuss current events. Her heart was always with those who were downtrodden, displaced by natural or manmade disasters.
Each time that we would meet for a drive in the country or to shop for the weeks groceries I would let her know how grateful I was that she and Albert had taken that journey from her small town across the ocean, first to the Gorbals of Glasgow footsteps from the River Clyde and then to settle in our little town of White Plains.
Without her courage the life I treasure with her daughter, children and grandchildren would not have been possible.