Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Separate Piece, 1959

Driving down Highway 12 and listening to my grandparents talk about how they met and how they married, not necessarily how they fell in love, but how they chose to spend their lives together, I am calm. The talked as the miles passed. She said he was tall and quirky and he wasn’t like the other boys she had gone out with. He kissed her at the end of the night and apologized for it. She said it was different, charming. He said she hoped in his car and immediately slid over close next to him. My grandpa proudly told his story of leaving the army, going AWOL, not once, not twice but three times and being sent to military prison for each offense. It took him more than four years to get a discharge from the army. He seemed relieved to be back in life with women, work, and human pleasures. My grandma chuckled from deep, she didn’t know this before she married him. She was a junior in high school and he was 22, dating a chick from Oconomowoc, WI a while before he met her, as he describes it, when they decided that they wanted to intertwine their lives. She had some money saved up for college, and they spent it on a trailer to live in instead. They have been together ever since. Not without troubles, but always with understanding.

I sat there, concentrating on driving, and enjoying the quiet bliss that the road often cradles those looking for peace. Despite the chatter behind me, I couldn’t help but smile and listen with my ears, as my mind may have been somewhere else. They couldn’t tell me, or anyone, why they married, or even if they were in love, but they didn’t seem to mind. And you could call it a simpler time, with less worries or restraints. But I call it serene, and that is timeless. I call it something of a time lost not in love but in a concern for careers, for money, or for self-awareness. All of which are positive, can be good, but can alter where your heart sits. It was a time where life was chance and love was a catalyst for spiritual growth, for travel, for adventure, and for dancing freely. It may be what people still hope for, but that depends on your definition of love, of happiness. Either way, it made me smile.

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