Forty Years and the Magnolia Tree

I am sitting on the marble steps on the mezzanine of the Jefferson Memorial. Breezes and sunshine spills over me as I relax and write and listen to the tourists and the children enjoying their day. There are several out of place plastic yellow warning signs on various marble steps warning of slippery conditions. I can only imagine just how slippery the marble steps could get in rain and snow. Marble. Huge beautiful slabs of gray and white marble. Stunning.  Except for the yellow plastic signs.

I have the best seat in the house, settling down on the steps with a gigantic pillar as a backrest. I am looking over the Potomac River watching the ripples following one another, perfectly choreographed ballet by Mother Nature herself. Hundreds of buildings of all shapes and heights are muted in the background of massive trees. Trees as far as the eye can see. Reminds me of Colorado, but no mountains. No mountains here to guide me north or south of east or west. I don’t understand how people can get their bearings without mountains. No. Not like Colorado with the Grand Mesa marking the East and the majestic lady Mount Garfield marking the North.

Walking around the memorial I pass a mixed clump of trees, deciduous and coniferous, highlighted with ivy creeping up the trunks and trailing up a small hill of carefully manicured soil. And just for a moment, I can see Mom with her fishing pole in one hand and coffee in the other while Dad pokes at the campfire causing the flames to rise and the little foil wrapped packets of God only knows what, to sizzle and pop loudly. For that moment I am back on the Grand Mesa and so many years younger. I catch myself smiling.

I am jostled back to the present by a child’s pleas to go and visit the White House. The pleading child seems to think that the White House door will open and the Obama girls will reach out to the pleading child and with a sweet hello, they are off to play Go Fish and build towers of Lego’s. My thoughts give way to the disappointment that lies ahead of the young tourist, as the reluctant dad responds with a sigh, “well, let’s go then”.

We had planned a few years back to have a 40th Anniversary party and Tristan was going to make a cake and I was getting 4 diamond stacking bands – one for each decade, and Bob would finally get his new diamond and black onyx ring. Circumstances changed and as those dreams were put on hold for another time. We decided to quietly celebrate with a trip into DC (only about a 30 minute drive) and I could sight see and write, and Bob could ride his bicycle and take photos. He does take great photos. The hours passed a little too quickly. We walked. We shot photos. We ran into a Nikon lady (she called Bob a Canon man, so I am guessing there is some competition between owners of Canon and Nikon. She took a few shots of us near the pansy’s and under the magnolia tree.

It was a beautiful day of sunshine and blossoms, shared memories and rekindled love. And maybe that is what forty years is all about. Maybe it isn’t the big party and the cake and the new rings. Maybe it is holding hands under the magnolia tree, and knowing you are destined to be together for the next forty years.

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