Good morning and welcome to this week’s Tuesday Tales. If this is your first visit here, Tuesday tales is a closed weekly blog where a select group of talented authors, in whose company I feel humbled, share their work in progress with you. Each post is based on a specific word of picture supplied by the talented Jean Joachim. Many books have been born on this blog. In my case, Hello Again and Forever and Always were created here. Soon, I hope Wedding Bell Blues will be published as well.
August first! Where has the year gone? I’m feeling rather nostalgic today. It’s hard to understand how quickly time passesfor me these days. Today is my birthday. Sixty-seven years! In 1967, when Canada celebrated its centennial, I was seventeen. I could never imagine the life I’ve had. A loving husband, three wonderful children, and seven grandchildren, not to mention a satisfying teaching career and now I’m an author! Life is full of wonderful surprises.
My new book, Same Time Next Year was inspired by this nostalgia. Here is the second instalment of the story, based today on the word: BOX.
Twyla released a nervous sigh and tried to relax against the seat, aware of her heart pounding frantically in her veins. She’d mentioned the unsettling sensation to the doctor, but he hadn’t considered it a cause for concern. Apparently rubatosis, the idea that instead of a steady thump your heart was playing a rock song to remind you that you’d survived, wasn’t that uncommon in people who’d gone through what she had. No doubt her vivid author’s imagination had something to do with that, too.
The drive had taken several hours, and as they drew closer and closer to the lodge, the sense of finally coming home grew. The need to go back to The Colonel’s Inn this year had been so intense, that from the moment it had gripped her, she’d been unable to think of anything else. With mortality knocking at her door, reminding her she was on the downside of life, she couldn’t ignore that urge. Lord knew she’d fought against it years ago, but now, fifty years later, she’d finally given in to the craving.
Taking a deep, cleansing breath, feeling the sorrow and regret of the last few years wash away, she smiled as Lana expertly maneuvered the red coupe along the country highway. While Twyla might bemoan the way things had worked out on some levels, she would never lament her life. It might not have been the one she’d hoped for fifty years ago, but it had been a good one, and Lana was the icing on the cake. As her own mother had said, “grandchildren were your reward for not killing your own.” Billie had been a difficult child, but Lana was the gift that kept on giving.
Glancing out the window, Twyla noted the changes brought on by time. The highway, which had once been narrow and rough, had been widened, the limestone blasted away to make room for more traffic and faster vehicles, but much of the landscape along its shoulders was as it had been. The developers hadn’t gotten this far yet.
She looked over at her beautiful granddaughter. There was no denying the fact the bright, happy-go-lucky redhead resembled her at that age. Last weekend, the two of them had been in the attic going through boxes for items to give to the church rummage sale when they’d come across the old picture albums and her box of souvenirs she’d thought long gone. Looking through the photograph albums, Lana had turned to the last page and had seen the resemblance first. Thank God for black and white pictures.
“And who is this yummy fellow?” Lana asked, her blue eyes shining with mischief. “He’s too tall to be Grandpa. I’ve seen your wedding picture, and you were the same height.”
Twyla blinked her eyelids, forcing away the sudden tears. “Just an old friend. I doubt he would know me if he saw me today.”
“Don’t be silly, Grams. You haven’t changed that much.” She scrunched up her face. “Where was this picture taken?”
“At The Colonel’s Inn, along the Rideau Canal. That’s the last time I was there. I was seventeen, a week away from my eighteenth birthday. I’ve been thinking of going there this year. I feel the need to spend time by myself. My muse has been on hiatus ever since the heart attack. She needs to be jumpstarted, but every time I try to talk to your mother about it, she has a fit.”
No doubt the last place her seventeen-year-old granddaughter really wanted to be was on her way to what she probably considered some moldy, old resort in the middle of nowhere, but the child had always been filled with empathy, knowing exactly what had to be done to restore an ailing person’s sense of self and calm the waters around her. Without Lana by her side, Billie would’ve worried herself half to death. While the girl wouldn’t turn eighteen until December, she’d aced high school and would start at Harvard in the fall and was as level-headed as they came—far more level-headed than she herself had been at that age.
Reaching for the metal tin on the console beside her, Twyla opened it and popped a peppermint into her mouth. Finding it in the box had been a welcome surprise. She’d been so certain her mother had tossed it out, just as she’d thought the photographs and other silly souvenirs from that summer gone forever.
That’s it for this week! Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on Tuesday Tales.