To my parents, Esther and Allen Hale
On September 14, 2005 for their 57th Anniversary
“I’d Do It All Again With You”
Esther took a photo, of Allen, out from an old dresser drawer, holding it dearly in the palm of her hand. She rolled the wedding ring back and forth, which he had placed on her hand fifty years ago. Wondering where the years had gone, she took a deep breath and exhaled in a long, deep sigh. A million memories passed through her mind as she gazed at the picture, in hand.
If, in that moment she could have written a love song, each line would have told the world of her love for this man. The song would have said, “When you see me walk on water and when the sea doesn’t reach the shore…when the fires of hell freeze over, I won’t need you anymore.”
As Esther placed the aged photo, of Allen, back inside the drawer, her attention was drawn to an envelope that was neatly tucked to the side. The paper had yellowed with age. Distinctly, in black letters that appeared to have been printed hastily, she recognized Allen’s handwriting. The seal had never been broken. The outer message read: “To Esther, With Love. To be opened September 14, 1998,” which just happened to be today!
She had gone through this drawer many times over the years. Never before had she noticed this envelope. Her fingers trembled as she thought of breaking the seal on their Golden Anniversary. She knew, without spoken words, that the contents would reveal his feelings that had spanned a half of a century. Even through the aged paper, she could literally feel Allen’s love.
Esther slipped a letter opener into the corner and slowly sliced the envelope. She felt like a young schoolgirl, once again, with a butterfly in her stomach or nervous awaiting her first kiss. She reveled, briefly, in the anticipation of reading Allen’s love letter.
Spanning their fifty years together, he had more than once been charming and romantic when she least expected it. A slight smile parted her lips and for a brief moment, she daydreamed of those special moments that had brought her so much joy with this man.
Esther removed the solitary piece of paper from the envelope. It had been folded in thirds. Even without reading its contents, she knew it would become a lifetime treasure.
As she opened the page, her breath caught as she noticed the date: September 14, 1948. She realized, then, he had written the letter on their actual wedding day when she was a mere child of 18 and he…a handsome 23.
In his chicken scratch handwriting, the letter began: Dearest Esther, The things that I’ll be writing is how I imagine our future life will be. And in case I forgot to thank you daily, THANKS FOR SHARING THIS LIFE WITH ME! They say that time can play tricks on a memory, that it can make people forget things they knew. I’m told that time can take its toll on a body, too. So, just to be on the safe side, I’m taking this time to capture, on paper, the love I have and will always feel for you.
Once upon a time in our life,
We held the key to every door.
And the only thing I desired,
Was you forevermore…
My heart found love,
Once broken far beyond repair.
And you renewed my soul,
That had forgotten how to care.
Everything we ever needed,
Was at our beck and call.
With you and I together,
Our love could conquer it all.
When I needed you badly,
Or to be cheered up for awhile,
You were always there for me,
And all you had to do was simply smile.
Keeping our family together,
Seemed so easy for us to do.
For you could turn to me for help,
And I could turn to you.
Jealousy was non-existent,
It never once entered our hearts
For we were made for one another,
And had been…from the very start.
When things were at their darkest,
And I didn’t believe enough in me,
I knew everything would be okay,
As I recalled the “I” that is “We.”
So, given every chance for me,
To start the second half of life anew,
There’d be no question, Esther,
I’d choose to do it all again with you.
All my love, now and always,
Esther read and reread the love letter, from Allen, blurred from the tears, which had filled her eyes. Smiles and pride filled her heart that she had been so fortunate to have Allen as her best friend, her lover, and her husband for five decades. Earlier that day, he had asked her to be his bride, reuniting with him in a renewal of their vows. He had surprised her by flying their Best Man and Maid of Honor in, from Alaska, to be their witnesses once again.
The blushing bride felt so loved. She had just learned that all of their children would be present for the ceremony, as well as loved ones from near and far. Their middle child would minister to their needs, reuniting them in holy matrimony. Allen had been busy, indeed, secretly orchestrating the gala event!
Esther looked at the clock and realized that with time, all dreams could become reality. Just as her dream had come true on September 14, 1948, another dream was coming true on this day…fifty years later. Nothing had changed, except their appearance, and she smiled and silently thought, “I’d Do It All Again With You,” too…Allen…
Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad!
Thanks for touching my life…