Posted by: Tara Aarness | December 29, 2010

The End is Nigh

With every beginning, there is an ending and so it is true with this, my final post to this blog I created not that long ago.  Life changes, molds and shapes us into what it wants us to become; some good, some not so good, and some just pure evil. While Santa reminded me that I remain on his “Good List” this year, I’ve finally given up the struggle of understanding the not so good and the evil that walk among us, sometimes in direct relation to ourselves. My present and my future encouraged me to embrace the differences in which separate from myself from my blood family and the gift in which was bestowed upon me – writing. Embracing differences have also included embracing a new home (and a sudden move), new life, and new writing career. It is this writing in which I have earned my living and will continue to do so, only now on a greater scale; thus the reason for this, my last entry.

It has given me great pleasure to write for you for this past year and the amount of responses I’ve received has fueled my fire to continue writing, though the evidence may not be presented here. With just 33 posts, 83 comments, and well over 3,000 hits in one year, my confidence in my abilities has soared and it is because of you that I have become the success that I am today. There are no words in which I can properly express my gratitude and a mere “thank you” seems lacking, but alas, it’ll have to suffice. The New Year brings new adventures, new media, fresh thoughts to express and it is the here and now that I bid you adieu, until we meet again in another format…

Yours,

Tara Aarness

November brings with it not just the cold, brutalities of an emerging winter, but the beginning of the holiday season and all the hopes, promises, and stresses it holds. While each of us remembers from our grade school days of the story of our nation’s first Thanksgiving, the real story of how it became a national holiday has been less publicized. Being a single parent is never easy, but being a single parent with five, young children and attempting to change a nation during war-time? Seems impossible, yet that is exactly what one middle-aged woman accomplished.

If necessity is the mother of invention, then Sarah Josepha Hale is her daughter. Hale was only 34 when her husband of nine years suddenly died, leaving her with five children, the youngest born two weeks after his death. In a time when the women’s movement was unheard of, as women were not yet considered equal, Hale began acquiring positions such as sewing to help keep her land, her home, and her family together. But it was her writing and creativity which gained the approval from one our history’s most influential presidents, Abraham Lincoln.

After becoming an editor with Lady’s Magazine, which eventually became Goedy’s Lady’s Book, Hale penned the much-loved nursery rhyme, Mary Had a Little Lamb, as well as established child day care for working mothers, fought for equal education for girls, was the first to suggest public playgrounds for all children, and made it her life’s mission to turn Thanksgiving into a national holiday.

Her first book, Northwood, published in 1839 and it is within these pages that the scene of the first traditional American Thanksgiving took place:

”The table, covered with a damask cloth, viewing in whiteness, and nearly equaling in texture, the finest imported, though spun, woven and bleached by Mrs. Romilly’s own hand, was now intended for the whole household, every child having a seat on this occasion; and the more the better, it being considered an honor for a man to sit down to his Thanksgiving dinner surrounded by a large family.  The provision is always sufficient for a multitude, every farmer in the country being, at this season of the year, plentifully supplied, and every one proud of displaying his abundance and prosperity.
The roasted turkey took precedence on this occasion, being placed at the head of the table; and well did it become its lordly station, sending forth the rich odor of its savory stuffing, and finely covered with the froth of the basting.  At the foot of the board, a sirloin of beef, flanked on either side by a leg of pork and loin of mutton, seemed placed as a bastion to defend innumerable bowls of gravy and plates of vegetables disposed in that quarter.  A goose and pair of ducklings occupied side stations on the table; the middle being graced, as it always is on such occasions, by that rich burgomaster of the provisions, called a chicken pie.  This pie, which is wholly formed of the choicest parts of fowls, enriched and seasoned with a profusion of butter and pepper, and covered with an excellent puff paste, is, like the celebrated pumpkin pie, an indispensable part of a good and true Yankee Thanksgiving; the size of the pie usually denoting the gratitude of the party who prepares the feast.  The one now displayed could never have had many peers…


Plates of pickles, preserves and butter, and all the necessaries for increasing the seasoning of the viands to the demand of each palate, filled the interstices on the table, leaving hardly sufficient room for the plates of the company, a wine glass and two tumblers for each, with a slice of wheat bread lying on one of the inverted tumblers.  A side table was literally loaded with the preparations for the second course, placed there to obviate the necessity of leaving the apartment during the repast…


There was a huge plum pudding, custards and pies of every name and description ever known in Yankee land; yet the pumpkin pie occupied the most distinguished niche.  There were also several kinds of rich cake, and a variety of sweetmeats and fruits.


On the sideboard was ranged a goodly number of decanters and bottles; the former filled with currant wine, and the latter with excellent cider and ginger beer – a beverage Mrs. Romilly prided herself on preparing in perfection.”

With modern society and modern advances, a feast such as this is almost unheard of and our waistlines thank us. However it was the power of her words that eventually gained the attention of President Lincoln and changed a nation.

Composing hundreds of handwritten letters of her perception of significance and unity of Thanksgiving were heard, however went unnoticed. After all, there was a nation literally torn by civil unrest, as brother fought brother in the Civil War, and there seemed very little time or strength to consider such frivolities. In her editorial, she wrote of her frustration and implored all to consider her passion. Though it served as an obvious rhetorical statement, she took aim and fired at will to those who questioned her reasoning:

“Would it not be of great advantage, socially, nationally, religiously, to have the day of our American Thanksgiving positively settled?  Putting aside the sectional feelings and local incidents that might be urged by any single State or isolated Territory that desired to choose its own time, would it not be more noble, more truly American, to become nationally in unity when we offer to God our tribute of joy and gratitude for the blessings of the year?  


Taking this view of the case, would it not be better that the proclamation which appoints Thursday the 26th of November (1863) as the day of Thanksgiving for the people of the United States of America should, in the first instance, emanate from the President of the Republic to be applied by the Governors of each and every State, in acquiescence with the chief executive adviser?”

Deeply unsatisfied, on September 28, 1863 she penned her famous letter to President Lincoln and finally gained real progress:  

”As the President of the United States has the power of appointments for the District of Columbia and the Territories; also for the Army and Navy and all American citizens abroad who claim protection from the U. S. Flag — could he not, with right as well as duty, issue his proclamation for a Day of National Thanksgiving for all the above classes of persons? And would it not be fitting and patriotic for him to appeal to the Governors of all the States, inviting and commending these to unite in issuing proclamations for the last Thursday in November as the Day of Thanksgiving for the people of each State? Thus the great Union Festival of America would be established.”

 

The letter today remains in the care of the Library of Congress, among the Papers of Abraham Lincoln. Her effort of uniting a nation through their stomachs was achieved, and on October 3, 1863, President Lincoln issued the proclamation that encouraged all Americans to see the last Thursday in November as a day of thanks. And indeed, Americans from coast to coast hailed Sarah for her determination and mastery of linguistics. Martha Stewart could only hope to be so powerful.

The following years brought about a tradition that finally gained the seal of approval by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, as he signed the bill into law on November 26, 1941, just a mere 62 years after her death. Thanks, Sarah.

Posted by: Tara Aarness | October 30, 2010

All Treats, No Tricks with this Fall-filling Recipe!

Come Trick or Treating with me and make this scrumptious pumpkin recipe that has sugar and spice and everything oh so nice! There’s no trick to be had and if you’re dieting, you’ll feel as if you’ve received a very special treat.

The real butter adds to the creamy flavor without adding inches to your waistline. The fiber from the veggies and pumpkin will leave you feeling satisfied enough to have you feeling as if you’re on the path to enlightenment and following in the footsteps of the Dalai Lama, “If one’s life is simple, contentment has to come. Simplicity is extremely important for happiness. Having few desires, feeling satisfied with what you have, is very vital; satisfaction with just enough food, clothing, and shelter to protect yourself from the elements. And finally, there is an intense delight in abandoning faulty states of mind and in cultivating helpful ones in mediation.”

Stuffed Sweet Dumpling Pumpkins (makes 4 servings)

4 Sweet Dumpling Pumpkins
1 bag of frozen veggies of your choice
4 chicken breasts
5 tablespoons (approx – to taste) of REAL butter (using margarine or olive oil doesn’t give this recipe the same flavor)
4 tablespoons brown sugar (more or less to personal taste)
Olive Oil

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut top off of pumpkins and remove guts, set aside. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease with olive oil. Place pumpkins top down on sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until tender (remember, you’ll be eating them, but still want them to be solid enough to hold the contents of the chicken and veggies mix).

2. Cook chicken in 1 tablespoon butter and whatever spices you’d like to throw in (garlic is a good choice, for those of you who enjoy this versatile herb); make sure chicken is thoroughly cooked! Add in frozen veggies and cook through.

3. Remove pumpkins and fill with chicken/veggie mixture, adding 1 tablespoon of butter and brown sugar on top; bake for another 5 to 7 minutes. Serve with lids on or off, and remaining mixture alongside.

A devilishly delicious meal to revive your spirit, and perhaps even the spirits of the ghastly ghouls and zombies roaming about this wildly wicked weekend.

Posted by: Tara Aarness | October 5, 2010

Mildred Bergman Unforgettable

In Seattle, there are two seasons in which it is at its most glorious – spring and fall. In the spring, the fresh, green leaves emerge from their winter slumber, promising new life, bright, sunny days, and a warmth that lightly kisses your skin. In the fall, the same leaves turn into brilliant shades of reds, oranges, greens, and more shades of gold than there are names. Every breath is you take is filled with the crisp, clean mountain air that suddenly is inescapable. 

On the morning after my grandma died, my husband, Erik, and I were awake at our usual time, just before dawn. As we always have, we opened our heavy curtains to greet the new day and watch the sun rise over the Cascades. The first rays were just appearing, casting a soft and quiet hue over the mountains. Minutes passed and the rays grew stronger, until suddenly there was a burst of bright light extending its reach far past the Cascades and streaming through our window. The rich, golden sun, the same color my Grandma always gravitated towards, was intertwined with the sky, with its soft, dusty blue that matched the color of my Grandpa’s dinner jacket he often wore while dancing with Grandma. Music quietly played from our alarm and as we lay there, taking in the moment, we each could see my grandparents dancing across the tops of the Cascade Mountains, toward Mt. Rainier, before pausing in Downtown Seattle for a cup of the coffee they both loved.

The Late, Great Mildred Bergman with husband, Lee

Over the past several days, I’ve had the honor of speaking with many of Grandma’s friends from all over the country, and they described her as elegant, graceful, vivacious, caring, generous, and exquisite, but honestly, how do you describe a woman who was very clearly all of this, yet so much more?

In her last email to me, she said, ‘Lots of things remind me of you… you are always on my mind,’ and the feeling is mutual. So it’s no surprise that one word, one song, comes to mind that I feel sums her up best…’Unforgettable’ by Nat King Cole. Since I can’t hold a note, not to mention that I’m not here in person and would never subject anyone to sing for me, allow me to indulge in the lyrics for a moment and see if you don’t happen to agree…

Unforgettable, that’s what you are
Unforgettable though near or far
Like a song of love that clings to me
How the thought of you does things to me
Never before has someone been more

Unforgettable in every way
And forever more, that’s how you’ll stay
That’s why, darling, it’s incredible
That someone so unforgettable
Thinks that I am unforgettable too

Music has always been a natural part of her life and it spilled over into her writing, as she published books and blogs alike. Her words were lyrical, full of meaning, of life, and of love and laughter. The thrill of being published was equal to that of dancing with my Grandpa and I’ve the pleasure of seeing the light in her eyes as she read the acceptance letter from a publisher and while floating across the dance floor in an evening gown fit for royalty. She was like a ray of sun that melted hearts with her kind words, her funny jokes, and her advice that was always useful. Simple pleasures in life such as pulling carrots from our garden, composting, the feel of the earth under my nails, the smell and taste of morning coffee, lipstick and high heels, spraying on perfume and getting ready to greet the night will always remind me of her. Sitting at my desk, the sun streamed in warming my face and I sipped my coffee, relishing the feel of her near, if only in spirit.

Along with the rising sun, my day progressed and I found myself drawn toward music such as Sinatra, Gloria Estefan, and anything with a good beat to dance to. In the city, it seemed as if everyone had been touched by this sudden spring of dance and frivolity, and though it happened to be Friday, it seemed to be more than just the normal reaction to a fast approaching weekend. The light hearted spirit of Grandma appeared to be spilling over from Heaven, encouraging everyone to celebrate life, just as she had every day of hers.

 In the evening, while sitting on the dock, we looked out across Puget Sound as the sun began to sink behind the Olympics. I gazed at the glint on the water that had the same look as the glint in Grandma’s eyes when she was her young, mischievous self, and I knew she was looking down on me from Heaven above. The day’s party was coming to an end and I knew she was anxious to go, so I said my goodnight’s and watched as she slipped beyond the Olympics to the after party that was waiting for her.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance!

Posted by: Tara Aarness | September 18, 2010

LOST: Looking for Fury Best Friend (Reward Offered)

Picking out you or your family’s new best friend can be daunting. It’s not as easy as picking out your next favorite pair of shoes that’ll carry you wherever the summer may take you. Just like choosing your new favorite Jimmy Choo’s, there are many factors into which needs to be taken into account and here are some helpful tips to help make your choice become an instant classic that’ll last not just the season, but a lifetime.

Research, Research, Research

Mother may have been right when she told us to ask lots of questions. However, the first questions to ask may be the toughest.

v  Why do you want to own a dog?

v  Are you truly willing to commit yourself to the life of this dog?

v  Do you have adequate space for a dog?

v  If you rent, will your landlord accept a dog? If so, which breeds?

v  What breeds are tolerated in your city? Does your city have an ordinance?

v  What sort of time are you willing to devote to this dog?

v  If you own other pets, why are you hoping to obtain another?

These questions can be tedious to answer and many haven’t bothered to take an honest look at their lives and lifestyle. The heartache they experienced has been felt by many and our animal shelters are filled with homeless dogs and cats that have done nothing wrong, other than being the breed they are. In order to avoid overcrowding our already brimming shelters, it is necessary to do extensive research beforehand.

Having fully examined your reasons, the key to your success lies in greeting others with similar interests and talking to a wide variety of people. Introduce yourself to breeders, peruse pet stores, and haunt your local shelter for possible loves. And while you’re sniffing out all the possibilities, be sure to ask yourself why you are drawn to these certain breeds of dogs and if they truly are right for your lifestyle. Trainers, breeders, and Animal Control Officers will offer you a greater insight as to which breed will work best for you, making your life, as well as your newfound friend’s, much easier.

And They Call It Puppy Love

After accosting every person you’ve run across who displays any sort of dog love, you are ready to find your Fury Best Friend (FBF). You’re as excited as any four legged, fur hound who hears the words, ‘walkies,’ ‘car ride,’ and especially, ‘ball’ or ‘cookie,’ and you just know that he or she is waiting for you. Whoa there, Buddy, let’s put that leash back on and heel our jets for a bit.

First, are you going to adopt a dog or puppy from your local animal shelter? Or purchase one from a breeder? Or visit your local pet store to see what they offer? Again, research will become your best friend. Prior to visiting a breeder, conduct a thorough background check on their breeding procedures, how they keep their animals, and what prior customers have to say about the breeder and their dogs.

Pet stores often purchase their dogs from ‘backyard breeders’ whose dogs aren’t as ‘purebred’ as you may like. Ask the manager who supplies their animals and if you may have their contact information so you may research what their facilities are like. If the manager declines your request for information, move on.

Your local animal shelter often has a wide variety of dogs available for adoption that have been thoroughly assessed for behavioral issues. Additionally, they are continuously screened for any health issues that may arise, whereas pet stores are unable to offer same quality of care.

All too often, people are just as excited to bring home their FBF as Fido is upon seeing a new squeaky toy. Each puppy eyed look you see will tug your heart strings and you’ll be certain that that adorable, furry little face staring back at you is The One. Ok, slow down, deep breaths, and have a cookie.

Your local animal shelter is staffed with knowledgeable officers whose primary concern is finding homes for the animals they care for. Ideally, their goal is to work themselves out of a job. However, that doesn’t mean they’ll just adopt an animal out to whomever, regardless of the right match or not.  By not thoroughly conducting your research and taking an honest look at your lifestyle, too many dogs, whether purchased from a pet store or breeder, or even adopted from the shelter, are ‘owner surrendered.’ Officers spend extensive time evaluating each dog that is brought in, creating pages of notes in hopes of finding the right home for both the dog and new owner.

A seasoned Animal Control Officer, Steve Fucsher, of King County Animal Care and Control in Washington State, has been helping place discarded animals for twenty eight years. “We walk a fine line between doing what’s right for the dogs and helping our community make the right choice not just for the animal, but for their family,” Officer Fucsher said. “Often we are criticized for denying an adoption of a certain dog to a family, but what they fail to realize is that we’re not denying the family the ability to adopt from us, but the adoption of a dog that will ultimately end up back in our care because it’s the wrong breed for that family.”

Finding the right breed is only half the battle. “These dogs think and believe they are people; they’re two year old children who never grow up. “ Animal Control Officer, Erik Aarness, of King County Animal Care and Control, explained. “And like people, each dog has his or her own personality. Regardless of the dog’s age, some dog’s love children while others won’t tolerate them. They have feelings just like we do, they feel emotional pain, as well as physical, and will respond to your actions just as a child would. People need to remember that when owning a pet.”

William Makepeace Thackeray once said, “Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children,” and it is just as true for our FBF’s. We are their mother’s and father’s, their hero’s, their masters, but most of all, we are their soul mates. Once they have found us, our level of joy is determined by how much we put into this relationship, just as it is in our relationships with our family, friends, and significant others; and with the pet industry projected to surpass $43 billion by 2011, that’s a lot of joy.

Posted by: Tara Aarness | August 31, 2010

Victoria’s Secret Squirrel

As you’re well aware, I volunteer for my local animal shelter. Last night as I started my shift, my husband greeted me, clearly excited, and immediately asked with a devilish look in his eye, ‘Do you mind if I bring a cute, young thing home with us for the night?’ Ah, the threesome fantasy surfaces once again…

We were in the feed room where my, uh, ‘desk’ sits, and among the litter pans, dog bowls, and other various animal related paraphernalia, sat a standard cage that temporarily houses trapped cats brought in by frustrated or concerned citizens. Rather than being empty, though, there was something living and breathing in it and I kept catching glimpses of a little nose peeking through.  Forgetting about his request, my fascination took over and then it all became clear – his cute, young thing consisted of a baby squirrel, not more than two or three weeks old, and my volunteering would extend through the night as we once again assumed the role of foster parents.

Two boys had noticed the abandoned squirrel and began throwing rocks at her, causing minor injuries. An eight year old girl bravely chased the boys off, and then brought it directly to the shelter in a Victoria’s Secret bag, where she tearfully handed ‘Victoria,’ as she called her, over to my husband.

 After the vet’s examination where the squirrel they pronounced her in decent health, they made arrangements for her to be transferred to a local vet that would care for her until she could be placed in her new home, at a wildlife sanctuary. However, it was late enough in the day that the vets office was closed, and Victoria, like a human infant, needed round the clock care.

And that is how my husband had his threesome.

Victoria, the Secret Squirrel

 

Posted by: Tara Aarness | August 8, 2010

Paying It Forward ~ A Repost From Theycallmejane’s Blog

Checking the Freshly Pressed page this morning, I came across a post that is simply too good not to repost. Like her, if you take it upon yourself to conduct a random act of kindness, please share your act with me in comments, then jump over to her blog and share there, as well. What better way of spreading the goodwill than by inspiring others with your work?

Pay It Forward, Random Act of Kindness – Whatever You Call It, Let’s Do IT! (http://theycallmejane.wordpress.com/2010/08/06/pay-it-forward-random-act-of-kindness-%e2%80%93-whatever-you-call-it-let%e2%80%99s-do-it/#comment-5469)

(We’re taking a last minute hurrah before our summer ends. Yes, our children go back to school on August 10th! I will be without a computer for 5 whole days. For the next few posts, I’ll share with you some of my favorites. The post below is a great reminder and was originally posted on December 18. I will miss you all! See you when I get back!)

By now I’m sure you’ve heard of the Philly couple that bought a stranger’s meal at a diner and for 5 hours customers continued to pay it forward. It reminded me that I hadn’t bought someone’s coffee in a while now.

About once every two months or so (I wish it were more often but quite honestly I don’t always think of it) I pay for the order of the person behind me in the drive-through or pay the toll for the car behind me when we go to “the big city” (as my daughter likes to call it.) Suddenly, this morning I remembered that it had been awhile so when I got my coffee this morning I paid for the car behind me, as well. Her bill was only $3.18. Hmmmm, I gave the cashier a $20. I looked in my rear view mirror and there were no more cars to pay for. So, $3.18 for my good deed of the day felt a little lack luster. I suppose I was expecting a little more grand gesture – not that I’m made of money, mind you, but I’m a few months behind in my good deeds. I was atoning for my neglect.

When I make these gestures I rarely look back to see the reaction. I hope to make a quick get-away, quite frankly. But this time? No such luck. I was stopped by two traffic lights in a row and she caught up with me by the second light. She rolled down her window. She searched my face for some recognition. She found none. “Thank you for this,” she said, “You don’t know what this means to me. I’m on my way to an interview. I lost my job a month ago and I HAVE to find work. I’d given these up,” and she raised her cup, “but I decided to splurge today for a little boost of confidence. Your kindness has done so much more.”

I could see that her eyes were brimming and she was fighting back tears. I was stunned into silence. I never said a word to her, just listened. The light turned green and she smiled and drove away. $3.18. Here I was feeling guilty I had only payed it forward with 3 dollars and 18 cents. But that $3.18 provided a much-needed boost for a woman in a desperate situation – looking for work just before Christmas. It meant more to her than I ever imagined it would.

So this weekend I want you to do me a favor. Pay it forward with someone else. Whatever you can afford. If it’s a meal, a cup of coffee, a bus token…for a stranger. Someone you never expect to see again. Then come back here to this post and comment about what you’ve done. Or post about it on your blog- but be sure to come back here to link to it so we can all read about what you’ve done.

Random acts of kindness spread joy like wildfire. I think they have more power than negativity. Together we can make the world a little happier this weekend with our small gestures. (Borrowing from Bender in The Breakfast Club) If he does it, then we’ll all do it and it’ll be anarchy! Let’s start our own little version of anarchy! Are you with me?

 

Posted by: Tara Aarness | July 9, 2010

The ACO Who Owns 2 ADD OCD ACD’s

My husband is an Animal Control Officer (ACO) for the county and in December of 2008, he brought home yet another Australian Cattle Dog (ACD), named Daku, who was deemed ‘unadoptable’ until someone worked with him. The first ACD, named Casey, he rescued from a farmer who was going to shoot her, unless Cougar (my hubby’s nickname) picked her up within the next 15 minutes (literally). But that was several years ago while he was employed at The Home Depot.

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of living with ACD’s, let me fill you in. It’s like living with an intelligent two-year who has Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Example – Daku loves to play and he’ll switch between the ball, a stuffed chew toy, the Kong, and rolling, all in the span of a minute. When he hears the call of nature, he must to turn his left three times, followed by once to the right before he able to answer that call.

Today, both dogs have found a good home to live in – ours. And on this rather hot day, I struggled with our two chuckle heads, and my To Do list. Today’s To Do list is composed of two 8 ½ x 11 sized pages, double spaced, as to allow for notes, and, because I’m my own slave driver, my goal is to complete said list by 6:00 pm. As of 2:45 pm, I’ve officially completed one page.

While there’s nothing truly important on this list, just odds and ends of miscellaneous tasks, I still feel as if I haven’t pulled my weight if I fail to complete it before my deadline (and I’m rather deadline oriented).

Seattle’s sun shines brighter than any other city on the planet, in my opinion, and when it graces us with its presence, the urge to run amok, frolicking through the warm fields like a school girl, is almost too much for me to withstand. So rather uncharacteristically, I threw out my endless To Do list, grabbed the dogs, the hose, and did something the two furry loves of my life do well – play.

 

Posted by: Tara Aarness | July 7, 2010

An Old Fashioned Love Story

He was once told me he was captivated by her the moment his eyes rested upon the beauty behind the glass.

In the busy street, on that cold October day, he watched her as she slid her arms through her winter coat, trying to drum up enough courage to ask this enchantress out on a proper date. He would do anything for her.

With butterflies dancing in his stomach, he struck up a conversation and struggled to comprehend what she was saying, as this Angel from God gazed adoringly up at him, and he knew, she was The One. The way her head tilted in thought, the way her slender fingers moved, but it was the way she held herself that made the certainty ring through him and he knew he would love her until the end of time.

                                                                                                   ————

The dreariness of the onset of winter did nothing to lift her spirits as she sat behind her desk, waiting for her life to begin. A quick glance out the window and her breath caught as she saw the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen standing on the sidewalk. Nerves replaced her calm demeanor and with a sickening sense, she worried that her lipstick had worn off and that perhaps her hair had fallen. I must look a wreck, she thought, and she sent a silent prayer that she was still somewhat presentable.

The clock struck twelve, signaling her lunch break, and she gathered her winter coat, worn, but still in good condition. Another quick glance assured her that he was still just on the other side of the glass, waiting for his gal, she surmised with a sinking heart.

Walking out the door, all she could think about was his broad shoulders, confident smile, expensive suit, and wavy hair that made her weak in the knees. Hardly believing her luck, he spoke to her, his voice filling the void in her soul and she immediately knew that at last, her life had begun and that he was The One.

                                                                                                  ————

Halloween was their first date and boy, what a night! The dinner, the champagne, the dancing, oh the dancing! The way he glided her across the floor made her feel as if she were Ginger Rogers and he was Fred Astaire. Couples literally stopped to watch them and their applause was nearly deafening.

Lee and Mildred’s July 5th wedding was nothing short of spectacular and the arrival of their only daughter, Kay, brought them closer together. Regardless of the hard times they faced, the dancing never stopped, nor did the applause.

In later years, frequent trips to Hawaii only broadened their love for one another, as they danced the night away. To this very day, people still speak of their graceful moves, the way he glowed when she was in his arms, her slender waist, her elegant dresses that twirled on the dance floor, and those impossibly high heels that only someone with her confidence and beauty could carry off. They may have never graced the silver screen, but to all who knew them, they were movie stars.

Their loved and ageless beauty remained with them for over 60 years as life carried them along and while many things have changed, one thing still remains the same. That little bit of magic on that All Hallow’s Eve night long ago.

An Everlasting Love

Posted by: Tara Aarness | July 5, 2010

A Peaceful Night

Tonight the United States of America celebrated the 234th anniversary of her independence, punctuating the event with ‘bombs bursting in air’ across neighborhoods and cities all across this great country. As I sit here typing this under the glow of computer screen accented by grandiose pyrotechnic displays, I can feel the percussion deep in my chest and I don’t even have to look behind me to know that it rattled our windows.

Occasionally the voices and laughter of families and friends can be heard, strangers passing by and welcomed, and it seems for one night, every one of us puts our differences aside, and stand united. For one night, we are the America that the world sometimes believes that we are.

It’s not easy living up to others expectations and we’re still a relatively young country, just trying to survive on our own without parental guidance. We’re not perfect, and we are riddled with fault, but then again, which country or person isn’t?

Words ‘freedom’ and ‘independence’ have various meanings for each one of us, regardless of country of birth. Just as each meaning is vastly different from person to person, each reason for that meaning varies. So for every person on this planet who has obtained freedom, regardless of form, regardless of importance, this celebration is for you.

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