Afternoon had come and gone. Charles had barely noticed the time slip by. Memories of them spending every fall here at this cottage came flooding back. They had sixty wonderful years of wedded bliss. Then she passed in the night just before the season changed.
They were surreal and entrancing memories. He longed to see her beautiful face once more. To hear her singing fill the kitchen. She sang at the local fall festival every year. That’s where he met her. Her singing is what captured his attention. She sang like an angel and her presence and confidence was breath-taking.
Charles was asked to attend the festival in her honor. The festival committee wanted to unveil a memory plaque at the park gazebo and had asked if he would mind saying a few words in her honor. There were no words to describe her. Words did not have the splendor, faith and love she possessed. What was he to say that would reach the crowd the way that her singing did? Nothing, absolutely nothing would do.
Charles looked out into the horizon. This was Sara’s favorite time of day. The sun was setting behind the mountains. The fall leaves seemed to grow richer in their hues of orange, red and yellows. All of it reflecting majestically back into the quiet still lake. ‘This was the words,’ Charles thought to himself. ‘This view is what describes my Sara’s beauty. ‘
As the sun melted behind the mountains, and the light faded into dusk Charles made his way back into the house. “Well old man, if you’re going to do this, you best get started. Morning rolls up awful quick when you’re my age.” He laughed at himself. He said this every night to Sara before he headed up to bed. She always laughed when he joked about how old they were.
Morning came about quickly. Especially since Charles had not gone to sleep until two in the morning. He sat under the same oak tree, and drank his morning coffee. “Don’t get lost in thought again, Charlie ol boy. Today you have to honor your wife’s memory. Boy I sure do hope you’re with me today Sara.” Charles smiled as he looked upon the lake one more time before he headed out to the fall festival.
Charles made his way to the gazebo that was the center hub of activity. He took his time. He wanted to take in all the activities. Seeing life for the joy it really was. The smell of pumpkin spice was wafting in the air. The pumpkin bake off was in full swing. There was the face painting booth crowded with all the little kids anxiously waiting their turn. The sound of carnival music filled the air as the merry go round seemed to be going none stop. Laughter and chatter was overflowing the senses. Charles at one point stopped, closed his eyes and listened.
That’s when he heard it. The song his wife sang every year. A melodic angelic voice floated in the air, stilling all the people. Silence fell upon the crowd. Charles anxiously made his way through the sea of people with a polite “excuse me” with each person he encountered. Everyone graciously moved to let him through. When he made his way to the front a young girl stood on the steps, poised and confident. Her voice was just as enchanting as Sara’s.
Tears streamed down his check. It was Madison. He had no idea she was coming. Never would he have thought that Madison could sing like her grandmother. She was just as beautiful as she was, the first day he met her.
“Grandpa, there you are. Come on up here” She said as she reached out her hand towards him.
“Ya’ all probably know my grandpa. He has been coming to this festival for sixty years. This is where he met my grandma Sara.” Then she handed the microphone to Charles, kissed him on the cheek and took his hand.
Charles paused, looking out into the crowd. There were some familiar faces, but most of them were unfamiliar. “I wanted all of you to experience my wife’s beauty. I did not know how to express it because I cannot sing as she did. My granddaughter gave you a glimpse of part of her beauty.”
He paused again, looking back at Madison. “Honey you did your grandmother proud. She is smiling on you today.” Then he turned and faced the crowd again. He handed Madison the microphone and walked back to the easel that was beside the town mayor.
“Mayor I brought my own memorial plaque, per say. Do you mind if I show it first?” Charles asked.
The mayor shook his head in agreement and helped Charles place the item on the easel.
“There were no words, none at all that could share my Sara’s heart with you. But God provided me this beautiful view last night. It was the only thing that could come close to how beautiful she was inside and out. Sara, my Sara, this is for you.”
He briskly unwrapped the brown paper from the canvas to reveal a magnificent oil painting of last night’s sun set.
The crowd was completely silent. No one wanted to miss what Charles had to say next. They were all stunned by the beautiful scene on the canvas.
“The sun is my Sara; warm, loving and beautiful at all times of the day.” He paused. Trying to keep himself composed.
“The mountains were her strength. They carried me and her family through tough times. When you reached the top she always wanted to pause and enjoy the view. She said life was a climb, but never ever forget to look back and remember what God taught and provided to you.”
Charles voice began to quiver; he could feel Sara’s presence in his heart. “The lake reflecting all the spectacular colored leaves is for me. I am left now reflecting. Seeing the beauty not once but twice; once here on earth and again when I join her forever in heaven. “
Madison stepped forward, taking his hand. “Grandpa, will you sing with me. You know the song.”
He nodded yes, and began to sing with Madison, Sara’s favorite song, Amazing Grace. The crowd joined in and the sound filled the festival. This fall festival would be his second favorite, the first always being when he met his precious wife Sara.