Remembering Aspens and Big Love

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I don’t know how many of you have had the privilege of standing in a quaking aspen glade when they are in full color, but it is both mystical and magical.

It feels like even the air is flooded with golden light in the hushed Autumn. The birds have flown south, the grasshoppers, crickets and cicadas have all burrowed in for the winter.

The only sound you hear is the clapping of the leaves as the mountain breezes set the leaves to quaking. It sounds like soft applause.

I was on a spiritual retreat in the foothills of the front range of the Colorado Rockies one golden autumn when I first laid eyes on Snookums. I was stunned. Unfortunately, she was there with her boyfriend, and surprising to some, I do actually have ethics. One does not hit on another man’s woman.

Most of the attendees were couples, and just three or four of us weren’t. So after meals and seminars, I spent most of my time alone, absorbing the golden hues and silence, and drinking camp coffee that one of the other solo attendees kept hot and ready on his campfire. I really don’t mind coffee grounds in my teeth, and there is something about coffee made cowboy style that makes it taste like heaven. I sipped his coffee while I sat on a log by a creek than meandered through the glade, and pushed away thoughts of Snooks.

I worked for her boyfriend from time to time, so I sat with them through many of meals and lectures, but I kept the conversation banal. Still, I wasn’t able to stop myself from furtive glances in her direction from time to time. So a few weeks later, her boyfriend called me to help him sneak out of their house so he could pursue a torch singer. I knew the singer, and knew where her heart was. And it wasn’t with the boyfriend. But I willingly helped him load his truck with his tools and belongings, and waved bye bye as he drove off.

I never pursued a woman until I met Snookums. I wasted no time calling her that evening and consoling her. Frankly, she didn’t need much consoling, but that is another issue entirely. We began attending lectures together, and I made sure that I called her every night before she fell asleep. I wanted my voice to be the last thing she heard that evening.

It wasn’t long before moved the friendship up a notch. It was a mere two months since the retreat in the aspens that I moved in, and we got a rent-a-preacher to make a house call for the simple wedding. It wasn’t always bliss, I brought quite a bit of baggage into the marriage that needed to be left somewhere. She even had to get some counseling. But in time, we grew together. I don’t know when that happened, but one day years later I woke to the realization that we had indeed become one.

I am writing much of this post from a Starbucks inside huge medical school complex. Pretty odd, when you think of it. The CEO of Starbucks said publicly that he would be happy if no one like me came into one of his stores, and I willingly obliged.

But today I put all that aside as I waited for Snook to finish her cognitive testing at the neurological clinic. I could be with her the first hour or so while the psychologist got the background material, and I was glad for that. She has forgotten all of the period between her two strokes, and has no recollection of her stay in the hospital. Then I was shooed away while they did their testing.

So I sit here and remember the girl that I married. She still peeks out at me from mirthful eyes. I hear the young girl in her quick but subtle humor. We have become one flesh.

13 thoughts on “Remembering Aspens and Big Love

    Becky said:
    September 26, 2022 at 4:12 pm

    That was a beautiful trip down your memory lane. Thanks for sharing it. As for the aspen – not likely to ever see them in person or listen to them talk, but I have seen pictures. There used to be a guy on Multiply who lived in Colorado and he shared a lot of autumn shots. Huge, golden candles flowing in the sun. Kinda breathtaking.

    Liked by 1 person

    Lia Storm said:
    September 26, 2022 at 5:36 pm

    This was the sweetest story !! I don’t think I ever heard how you two met, but I am so glad that “boyfriend” of hers went off with someone else so you got your chance. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

      Rusty Armor responded:
      September 26, 2022 at 6:43 pm

      I am glad he wandered off too.

      Like

    Lia Storm said:
    September 26, 2022 at 5:39 pm

    Oh yeah, aspen trees. I was in Idaho one Autumn , in Boise and there were streets lined with those trees and you are right, it was golden magical mystical. I think I have pictures somewhere from that trip. The color just took my breath away.

    Liked by 1 person

      Rusty Armor responded:
      September 26, 2022 at 6:41 pm

      … yes. You almost expect a unicorn to go prancing by …

      Liked by 1 person

        Lia Storm said:
        September 27, 2022 at 6:21 pm

        I can’t stop laughing about that!

        Like

    Rivergirl said:
    September 26, 2022 at 6:14 pm

    Such a beautiful post. And I know just what you mean, after 38 years together… I’ve lived longer with my husband than I did without. He truly is my other half. Sending good thoughts your wife’s test results come back positive.
    💕

    Liked by 1 person

      Rusty Armor responded:
      September 26, 2022 at 6:42 pm

      They were positive for the most part, but still inconclusive. But they say one year, and she is barely in her fourth month.

      Liked by 1 person

        Rivergirl said:
        September 27, 2022 at 4:26 am

        That’s good news in itself. Positive is positive.
        🙂

        Like

    Catherine said:
    September 27, 2022 at 6:24 am

    I don’t believe Hollywood could have written a more beautiful love story.

    Liked by 1 person

      Rusty Armor responded:
      September 27, 2022 at 10:20 am

      … I always catch my grammatical mistakes the day after I post something.

      Like

    Catherine said:
    September 27, 2022 at 6:28 am

    I am trying to post a comment on your blog and for some reason it is not going through. Will keep trying … thinking of you and Snookums.

    Liked by 1 person

    Anonymous said:
    September 30, 2022 at 11:18 pm

    This is late but best wishes and good health to Snookums, and to you too. Wanita

    Liked by 1 person

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