One day wasn’t long enough for me to forget the deafening roar of the forest fire.
We were lucky, thanks to the thousands of firefighters from many different areas and states. How those young men and women do what they do is beyond me. I know I couldn’t do it.
Our house wasn’t one of the ones destroyed, but several of our neighbors weren’t as lucky. The kids were scared and crying, but the firemen told us we were safer where we were rather than trying to outrun the fire. Two families stayed with us last night, and we tried our best to help them deal with the tragedy. They were alive and they could rebuild. The kids finally managed to fall asleep, and I hope they won’t have nightmares for years to come.
My dad and his dad built this house to get away from the city and it is amazing that it has survived many close calls.
‘Red Sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red Sky in the morning, sailor’s warning.’ Something like that. What if it is red sky in the morning and at night? The air was heavy with the stench of smoke. I watched the sun set, giving thanks that we were safe and hadn’t lost everything we owned.
I turned back to look at the house, both Ellie and Ryder were hugging the teddy bears the firemen gave them. My eyes started to water from the smoke – thank you God!
We had been dating for months, and I really liked everything about Don. Even his idea of taking a walk instead of going to the party, was a pleasant surprise.
I could feel the warmth of his hand on my back as we slowly walked around the garden. I could sense he wanted to say something, but despite my curiosity, I just enjoyed the wonderful sound of the small waterfall and the warm breeze.
I felt his hand leave my back and got an immediate chill. Don walked up ahead and turned and knelt. “I know this will come as a surprise, but I have found what I have been looking for…well, for a long time.” He opened the small box. “Will you marry me?”
I wasn’t expecting anything like this. “Don, we can’t…I mean I can’t.” He didn’t react or say anything. He just kept kneeling. I took a deep breath and looked up to the sky. I had never seen a Comet before, and most certainly had never been proposed to. “Look Don, a COMET,” I yelled, pointing to the sky. He didn’t even look up, but stared into my eyes.
“I know. I arranged it for this occasion. God knows better than you and I, how much we love each other – will YOU MARRY ME?”
Eight years later, we walked this same path. “Mommy, look at that thing in the sky. It’s pretty.”
“Yes, it’s unbelievable, sweetie!” I felt Don’s warm hand on my back once again.
Prize To Hold Hang and Fold Red, White and Blue and so it has been told, Some gave their lives for me and you. We have been blessed with freedom, very true! Many have heard the call, and said their last goodbyes. Thirteen precise flag folds, honoring you! Stars facing up for heavens view. What a gift we all hold, Many thanks to you. Hear foretold, Stand bold… Sighs
I couldn’t believe my eyes. Fifty years ago, my Grandfather told the story of a monster lobster destroying their traps. I thought it was just a story he made up. My dad just smiled when it was brought up in conversation.
Taking a walk along the shore was something I used to do as a kid, but lately, I do it to remind me of both of them. I’ve collected some interesting drift wood and made things out of them, but I think this lobster trap will get a special place of honor.
I collected all of the pieces and brought them to my workshop.
The grandkids liked to visit, and work with me to make things out of the wood. We were minding our youngest this weekend, and he was staying over.
“Grandpa, what is this pile of wood and netting, and are we going to try to make something out of it?”
“No, the only thing I’m going to do with this, is to tell you a story my Grandpa told me years ago. Have a seat by the window and look out at the lobster boats moored out there. Many of the old time New England lobstermen, like your great-great Grandpa, told stories about a giant lobster. Many of them had seen him and their destroyed traps, but nobody ever managed to catch him.”
“Is that a true story, Grandpa?”
I looked at the disintegrated lobster trap, and smiled, “Yes, it certainly is now.”
They were distant relatives, and I was told they remembered me when I was this tall. I thanked them for the very large present and wanted to open it immediately.
My parents were standing behind me, with their arms around each other. It was something that I remember to this day.
Why am I remembering all of this now? Yes, it was because of the very large box on the side of the road.
You don’t see the kids playing together like we did when I was growing up. We were always outside; playing this and that. Many nights, we stayed outside until we heard our parents calling us to come in.
That large box on the side of the road made me remember the present those relatives gave me that day. I, for the life of me, can’t remember what it was. However, I remember all the fun we had though.
The box, at first, became a fort for the kids in the neighborhood. Then the snow storm came and it was broken into pieces and became sleds. We went down the hill until there was nothing left of the cardboard.
When the snow melted, I picked up a piece and brought it home. The edge of the box had small compartments and it was perfect to hold all my colored pencils. My friends were all jealous, but never found any other pieces of the cardboard box.
I’ve never seen those relatives since, but if I did, I would certainly tell them how much fun we had with the present they gave me.
Sometimes the simplest things in life are the things you remember most. I wish I could see my parents hugging like they did that day. Maybe they are…up there.
Today was going to be a special day that could change our lives.
We had it planned down to the last detail. Mike was going to make things happen, and all I had to do was get Marie there at the right time.
I had the only thing I needed in my pocket.
Marie was full of questions as to why we were driving so far out into the countryside. She also asked if I had ever been here before. I danced around her questions as best I could.
She looked lovely, dressed in white shorts with an Aqua colored top, open at the shoulders and only periodically covered by her blonde hair gathered in a pony tail.
I could tell she was curious why I was checking my watch much too often.
We pulled into the overlook just before the planned time, and I put the top down. Marie undid her hair and fluffed it out giving me her prettiest smile.
Two minutes later – “Wow, look honey,” she exclaimed pointing. “There’s a beautiful rainbow.”
When she turned back, I had the box open to display the pristine solitaire ring. My hand was shaking and I quickly asked, “Will you make me the happiest man and marry me?” She jumped into my arms and her kiss was my answer.
Later, when I met Mike, I commented, “Nice job creating the rainbow.”
“I wanted to call you, but there was no phone service…the pump wouldn’t start.”
“I’m getting tired of this probing; can’t you tell me what we are looking for?”
“Maybe if I tell you, you might actually help.” Cliff sat on one of the staircases and Don joined him.
He pulled the now crumpled note out of his pocket. “In my grandfather’s papers was this note addressed to me. ‘Cliff, I hope you find this note. If you ever get to the Hawaiian Islands, do yourself a big favor and look up ‘Radar Dome W13.’
“Is this it?”
“Based on his crude map of the different radar installations, I think this is the right one. Here, you look at it and see what you think.”
Don looked at the note. “You have to be kidding, you didn’t tell me we were looking for buried Japanese gold.”
“My grandfather always had a smile like he had a secret. He never mentioned anything. As you see, his note says he and his three-unit buddies found it, but realized there was no way the military would let them keep it. They buried a bar here and added a map to the main stash.”
“Cliff, if we found that one bar it would be worth millions.”
“About five million, if its twenty-five pounds.”
“What are you doing over there?”
“Look at the location of the ocean on his note, we were looking near the wrong stairs.”
“You heard me, I have two guys jumping up and down, and hugging each other.”
She made a face like she had just swallowed Castor Oil.
“Tell me you didn’t buy this place.”
It was hard not to start laughing, but it would have ruined the moment. I bit my tongue to keep from even smiling. Her yellow dress caught a breeze and billowed toward the structure, and she had to hold her hat in place.
“Well, what do you think?” She bent over holding her stomach and I thought for a moment she was going to vomit.
“Does it have indoor plumbing?”
Once again, I had to keep from smiling. “There’s a small outhouse out back.”
“Does it have any history to it?”
“I’m surprised you’re asking.” I turned slightly back toward the car. “What the realtor said is that it belonged to a three-generation family, and with each new descendant, there was a new addition.”
Despite the wind, I heard her take a deep breath, and she turned to look at the home again. “I love you Matt, but this is not a good investment.”
When she turned back, I was on my knee holding a boxed diamond.
“Oh CRAP,” she exclaimed, rocking back on her heels.
“I know how much you love me, but do you know how much I LOVE YOU? Will you…?”
Before I finished, she let go of her hat, charging to bury herself against me. “Yes, yes…and I don’t care where we live.”
“Great…I wanted to see your reaction…now let’s go check out the real place.”