My friend, you’ll be back
In the afternoon, when I’m chopping vegetables for a soup or folding laundry, you’ll be back. You’ll sit at the high counter as you have so often, while I convey my frustrations with the latest news or my fascination with a newly found book or documentary—your lighthearted spirit reminding me not to take myself too seriously.
On New Year’s Eve, when the psychics appear on TV making their annual predictions, you’ll be back. Your laughter will ring in my ears as will the sound of a stack of tabloids hitting the dining room table—an annual gift you’ve always brought to the house.
On the kids’ birthdays, while I’m cutting the cake for all to enjoy, you’ll be back. Your hand will gently reach over and move the knife to produce a larger slice than I’d been planning. You’ll remind me not to skimp on the ice cream.
On game nights, when cards are cut or board games are brought out, you’ll be back. Winners and losers will not be noted. With you there, the goal will be nothing other than having fun.
In the concert halls, listening to Beethoven or Bruce, you’ll be back. Music was always a source of joy with you and your gratitude when in the presence of talented musicians will surround me as again we listen together.
On the paths of the Arboretum, traipsing among the peonies or slipping past the snow covered entrance gate, you’ll be back. As we reach the summit of one of the higher hills, I’ll hear you announcing (while simultaneously asking for confirmation) that you’ve been keeping a darn good pace.
In the car, while I’m fumbling with some new-fangled electronic feature, you’ll be back. You’ll scold me for not reading the owner’s manual and complain that drivers are no longer paying enough attention to the road. You’ll ask me when was the last time I had the car washed and once again tell me that I should really put snow tires on in the winter.
On the shores of Lake Michigan, where the heat of the summer sun is met by the cool blue of the endlessly lapping waves, you’ll be back. As I search for a place to lay my towel, you’ll be with me setting up beach chairs, an umbrella, a cabana for the overheated, a cooler of beer, some chips and crackers, pails and shovels for the kids, and a couple of float boards. You’ll wonder if it’s worth it to go back for the CD player, some magazines, and a kite or two, asking if anyone is going to want to use the rubber raft.
On summer evenings, when we’re sitting in the backyard with friends shooting the breeze, you’ll be back. You’ll ask about the kids and we’ll wonder momentarily where they are before you break into a grin, telling me I might as well not worry—that they’ve long been out of my control.
At dinner parties, when I’m behind schedule still trying to get food in the oven, you’ll be back. You’ll point out that guests are arriving and I haven’t yet put out any snacks, offering to run to the store to pick up some salmon spread, crackers, greek olives, and beer or red wine if I prefer.
And when “Sadie Come Around” comes on, or any one of the several super hits of our favorite band Hoodang begins to play, you’ll be back. We’ll dance as we did whenever good music and a floor were available. The tears will stream from my eyes, but they will be tears of joy, knowing that I’m with you once again.