|Subject: THE PHOTOGRAPH
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Date Posted: 20:15:55 12/16/01 Sun
Author Host/IP: spider-wd023.proxy.aol.com/22.214.171.124
Lucy sat alone, dejected
With her chin upon her hand
Worry weighed her down so much
She doubted she could stand......
Through the open kitchen window
She saw her children in the yard
Their very future was at stake
She wondered......why is life so hard?
Ten years ago, she'd left this farm
At 18, with a burning need
She'd only recently returned
Widowed with three kids to feed
Her dad had died while she was gone
So her Mom was glad to see
Her daughter home with grandkids
For her to bounce upon her knee
But then a little over a month ago
Came Mama's turn to pass away
The cemetery and the funeral
Still remained a blur today
Then just this morning the sheriff came
With a notice from the city
Her parents' taxes were in arrears
The lawman looked at her with pity
"What does this mean?" she had to ask
Feeling scared and all alone...
"Well, Ma'am....unless you pay this here
They're gonna come and take your home"
Lucy looked at where he pointed
And felt the room begin to whirl
"$7,000.00??There's no way in all the world!"
The sheriff scratched his head and sighed
"Is there something you could sell?"
"Not for that much," Lucy moaned
"This place has gone straight to hell!"
She wandered through the parlor
Stopped at the faded photograph
Of her parents on the mantel
Daddy seemed about to laugh
Taken on a day now lost in time
Done in golden sepia tones
It pictured them on their wedding day
Near the front steps of this home.......
Lucy stared into their eyes
Feeling worse than ever before
Unsure what the futute held
But knowing hardships were in store
She cooked supper for the children
Then tucked them all in bed
Prayers over, hugs and kisses
Then three bedtime stories read
She settled down in her father's den
Searched through every paper there
He'd obviously had no savings
Though she knew how much he'd cared
While sitting at the ancient desk
She felt a sudden chill
It left her feeling frightened
She held very, very still
Then in the corner by the door
She saw something that seemed strange
Was it her imagination
Or had the light begun to change?
She walked slowly toward the doorway
Where the light was taking form
She noticed the chill had disappeared
Just as suddenly, she was warm!
Golden light now showed an image
A tall woman with slender grace
Feeling no fear, Lucy squinted
But could not make out a face
Then the woman beckoned to her
As if to say, "Come walk with me"
She floated down the hallway
With Lucy following hesitantly
She waited by the parlor door
Near the bottom of the stair
The lady drifted to the mantel
Then stopped and hovered there
Again she gestured, "Over here"
Pointing to the photograph
That Lucy'd seen that afternoon
And now, underneath the glass
A single speck of shining white
Glowed in her mother's hands
Very tightly she gripped the frame
As she struggled to understand
Then all at once, the lady vanished
And though Lucy looked around
The woman left not a single trace
Just gone----without a sound
Glancing back at the photograph
She studied it once more
Noticed now what her mother held
She hadn't seen it there before
It looked to be a wooden box
With brass hinges and a clasp
Something about it seemed familiar
But the memory slipped her grasp
More confused than ever,
She made tea; started up to bed
When all at once, the elusive memory
Popped unbidden into her head
She'd been a very tiny girl
No more than 6 or maybe 7
When she'd watched her Mom take from a shelf
A box she had labeled 'Heaven'
"What's in there, Mama?" Lucy'd asked
Her mother smiled, but wouldn't say
Just tucked an envelope deep inside
Then put the box away.
Later on she'd told the girl,
"Your grandpa made that box of wood
Its only for special treasures
Like secrets and other goods!"
Lucy flew back down the stairs
Remembering just where she'd seen
Her Mama hide the wooden box
Containing all her hopes and dreams
With trembling fingers she held it now
Lifting the antique lid to see
On top of a stack of papers----an envelope
That just said "Policy"
She took the pages out to read
Spreading each of them apart
Too afraid to even acknowledge
The hope that sprang up in her heart
In the event of both her parents' death
No matter how or what age they were
They'd left this farmhouse and insurance
And all they owned to her
It was enough to pay the tax arrears
And for three college educations!
Lucy wept tears of gratitude
For her parnets' dedication
Then she fell down on her knees
To thank the Lord in prayer
If not for the heavenly angel in white
She'd have never known it was there!
She picked up the photograph once again
Doing a double-take in suprise
The shock and amazement on her face
Could never have been disguised!
For her mother's hands were folded
They didn't hold a single thing!
Fingers intertwined together
Showing only a wedding ring!!
She felt the room begin to sway
But Mama's voice was crystal clear:
"Just be grateful and never breathe a word
Of what has happened here---"
Lucy lived to be a ripe old age
And then, late one winter night
She lay in bed and once more saw
The lady of golden light...
"Lucy dear, it's time to go"
She extended a glowing hand
The old woman paused, looking toward the closet
The angel seemed to understand...
"Leave the box," she gently smiled
"Your daughter will have her turn...
When the time is right, for some earthly bridges
Were never meant to burn."
Dusty Tincher c 2001
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