Visit before the Mountains

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My husband and I stopped by this elderly couple’s home on our way out of town.  It doesn’t seem right to call them elderly, even though they are both well into their eighties.  The husband still chops wood for the fireplace and his brown skin stretches firmly across his cheek bones.  The wife’s face is smooth and round and her voice hasn’t cracked with age.  Neither of them look a day over 70.  They live in the city. Their row home is humble and warm, and I felt loved as soon as I walked in the door even though they are not family.  The wife offers me a seat by the fire and I yearn to spend my vacation there instead of the mountains.  She talks about my book.  I am there because she wants more copies for her grandchildren.  My book sits in a pile of books on a table,  its page saved by an envelope. I reach in my purse and hand her a bookmark from a book I am currently reading, titled The Blue Orchard.  As she continues to speak, I am blessed by her life story. I have shared my life.  Now she feels comfortable sharing hers with me.  She says  so many profound things that I want to take notes, but don’t.  It would ruin the moment.  I tell her in so many words that I am moved by her wisdom and wish I had a pen and paper.  She says, I’ll remember and I hope I do.  I tell her I am surprised that she is enjoying my book.


She says, “Well, the first thing that kept me turning the page was the dedication to your husband because I know how I feel about my husband.  We have been married for 66 years and he still makes my heart skip a beat.”


I am so moved by her words.  I want to cry.  I silently pray that Jeff and I will share many more years together so my heart can skip a beat for him when I am in my eighties.


She tells me, “Your book is for anybody who can read till they can’t read no more.”   I will keep writing for that line alone.  I trust her.


I ask her about her family, looking around, absorbing memories that fill the room like ghosts.  She tells me about how she raised her nine children.  She speaks of her son’s death, staring at his picture above the mantle.  Her eyes focus on it in a way only a mother’s could who lost a child.  She looks at it and looks away from it several times, blinking, and taking deep breaths in-between her words.  She is not crying, just caught up in the memories.  She talks about how her husband was a good provider.  I look over at him and nod while he and my husband are speaking.  She is satisfied with him and with her life.  Her words, the room, the fire, and her husband with the tight face who loves her deeply makes me feel love completely, universally.   I tell her how comfortable I am in her home-how blessed I am in her presence.  She points over to the other room and says I keep blankets over there, and more than anyone else  in the world, I yearn to be like her.

8 Responses

  1. tanya says:

    This is beautiful in so many ways Shawn! First, thank you for sharing such a personal and intimate experience. Sixty-six year of marriage is inspirational and something worth striving for. Like you, I will make the same prayer. While reading this post, I felt as if I were sitting there next to you… listening and taking in all the wisdom and knowledge. So often, age and wisdom gets pushed aside for meaningless activity. I think it’s great that you and your husband made time to visit this elderly couple. I can’t wait to read more about your visit before the mountains. Great post!

  2. shawnrjones says:

    After 66 years of marriage, I pray we will both be blogging and encouraging other young married couples. I can still refer to us as young : ) And do you know what, I really feel if you cannot have that kind of deep love and connection with your mate, than you are really better off single. Being single is not a curse(sorry that’s another blog for a later date).

    I just thought of something else she said. She said, “How I feel for my husband has nothing to do with how he looks.” She said it never has. I understood fully. She said when you have a connection like that, it doesn’t matter because you love them more deeply each year.

    So, enjoy each year and may God bless you and your beautiful marriage. Thank you for your comment : )

  3. Crystal Waters-Reaves says:

    I don’t know if it was the warmth of her love or the warmth you felt from your visit pouring out through your writing, but I felt the warmth, like I was sitting in front of their fireplace… I have found that most of my wisdom has come from listening to people seasoned by life. I crave the conversation of elders. How luck were you to experience that visit before continuing to such a scenic place to absorb it!

    • shawnrjones says:

      I didn’t grow up around a lot of older folks. I had a very young family. My Aunts and Uncles on both sides were teenagers when I was born or in their early twenties, which also made my living grandparents relatively young also. I really appreciate every moment I get to spend with seniors. Thank you for taking the time to comment : )

  4. Maude Jones says:

    I know how you felt when you left our friends house. They are a loving family, who loves the Lord and everyone around them. As you look and listen to them you can see the beauty in her and how tall and handsome he was in his younger days. Their children and grandchildren are truly blessed to have them in their lives. They seem to be as much in love today as they were years ago. When I visit I feel so at home and comfortable that I don’t want to leave. Their house is filled with love and happiness. They are a living testimony for every young married couple that is willing to listen. They are kind and generous with their time, and if you ever have a question when reading your bible, feel free to ask them, they love serving the Lord.

  5. shawnrjones says:

    Thank you, for your comment, Maude, and thank you for sharing your beautiful friends with me. Much love and many blessings : )

  6. Lorraine Castle says:

    I was blessed to know my grand-mother and great-grandmother. I always loved and appreciated their wisdom. And I loved spending time with them just listening to their stories of their younger days. Thank you for once again taking me into your world.

  7. shawnrjones says:

    You are so blessed that you got to know them both and blessed that you have also acquired their wisdom. It is always great to hear form you. Thank you so much for your comment : )

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