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Monday, April 21, 2008

A Romantic Conversation at the Park - Abbey's Park (Part 2)

Somewhere through the birds chirping, the winds whispering through the perfect morning, or the winding flowing water brooks, I heard my son called out to her name...Abbey!

My son kept calling out that name Abbey..Abbey wait up! She turned around, gave my boy a smirky cute smile and vanished in a moment's blink but only to appear again by the swings. My son seemed to be having the time of his life and they looked like a pair of butterlies flying around without a care in the world. The innocence and joy of childhood radiates over this picture perfect day. These are moments that I cherish as I remember in my own past that I too had an Abbey in my life. A friend that was willing to give up her own favorite last piece of chocolate chip cookie.

A motherly voice suddenly called out from a distance. It appeared that it was time for Abbey to go home but she seemed reluctant and kept on pleading to stay longer by the sandbox. Her mother approached and she gently but graciously told her little jewel, "you have 10 more minutes and then it's time to go." The little girl nodded with a smile followed by a big thank you hug to her mother. Her mother had a well-to-do distinguished look to her demeanor. She was a tall slender lady with the same smile as her daughter. 10 minutes quickly passed and her mother reminded Abbey that it's time. At this moment, she noticed that my son's face has made a sad turn as well. The mother turned to me and said, you must be daddy, would you like to take your son and stop by our home for a cup of tea or hot chocolate? My husband is home doing some yardwork. I really didn't want to impose and felt a little awkward being strangers to them but before I could say anything, my son jumped up from the sandbox and said..YES YES..I love hot chocolate. Can we daddy...pleaseeee! and I couldn't say no after that display of enthusiasm but truthfully I couldn't resist a good cup of hot chocolate as well.

Another short peaceful strolled, we arrived at her home. The dad was out in the front yard fixing the swing by the great big tree on their front porch. We quickly greeted one another and exchange plesantry hand shakes. Her mom invited all of us in and we sat down for a cup of hot chocolate. We both took a sip from our creamy chocolates with whip cream on top almost as synchronized as father and son can be. Suddenly we heard giggles between the mother and daughter and we were a little puzzled by their amusement. The mother handed me a napkin and proceed to help my son wipe off the hot chocalate whip cream mustache he had all over his mouth. We both looked at each other with innocent silliness and laughed the moment off.

After sipping our favorite drinks, the parents invited us to a quick tour around the house. It is a beautiful house decorated with colonial antiques of all sorts. I started noticing some of the family pictures they had out on top of the fireplace. I noticed there was a picture in particular that there were two little girls of similar age. I asked the mother is this your daughter too?..She had a slight pause in her tone and said yes...that's Abbey. I didn't notice the mother's pause at first and told my son to come over to see the picture. My son saw the picture and said, yeah that's Abbey. At this moment, the little girl whom my son was playing in the sandbox said with a smile, yea..that's my twin sister Abbey. I turned to the mother a little bit embarassed having called the little girl the wrong name all this time thinking she is Abbey.

The mother was very gracious and told me her little girl that my boy was playing in the sandbox is named Abigail or Abi for short. Abbey on the other hand was her twin sister. I then told the mother that my son perhaps had played with Abbey before in the park and that he named the park Abbey's park. My son was obviously very fond of Abbey but somehow about six months ago, she stopped going to the park until today he saw Abi thinking she was her sister Abbey. At that moment, I noticed that the mother was trying hard to hold back a little tear and then she said, "We lost Abbey to a rare form of cancer about 3 months ago. Today was the first time her twin sister Abigail was willing to go out to their favorite place to play!" The favorite place she was talking about is what my son calls "Abbey's park."

My son later went home and asked me, daddy...where is Abbey? I told him, think of the time you played with her in the park and remember her in your heart and that's where Abbey is.

~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~

Well.....Some parts of this story are simply imagination or fictional but I did want to explore the question of death. Death is going to be an eventual question that our children will ask us someday especially when there are deaths in the family or even having their first pet die. What WOULD we say or tell them?

Just last year, one of our family members was lost to illness. He is not close to my little boy and that's only because of distance and he's been too ill to spend time with him. He had a rare form of Alzheimer's disease that robed him for the better part of the last five years. His condition slowly eroded and eventually that fateful day came and gone. My wife flew half way across the country to attend the funeral. Had we lived closer to one another and if he didn't have Alzheimer's disease, I know my son would love him. He would have called him Ohio Grandpa. To end this story, my son did meet two girls at the park named Abbey and there was a death. The death happened twenty something years ago to one of my best childhood friend. I remember as we buried him in the cemetary park that beautiful fragrant blooming day, another little girl fighting back her tears, and a classmates of ours said these words to him as we laid him to rest.
"You will always be in my heart."

Monday, April 14, 2008

A romantic conversation at the park (Part 1)

It is toward late spring, and summer seems to be on the horizon. The clouds and rain of the night before had been replaced with sun and gentle winds. The weather was perfect today. The sky is clear, the gentle breeze brushes against the blooming hills of scented spring flowers.
The birds are chirping, and the squirels are running around hording up a cheek full of treasure nuts. It is a perfect day to say the least. This very perfect morning, I took my son for a morning stroll around the neighborhood and eventually to his favorite close by sanctuary, the playground. He named this place Abbey's playground. We took our bikes out, put on our helmets and off we go riding under the perfect sun with a ray of smile all over my son's face. This was going to be the perfect day.

As we arrived at the park, the parking lot was full of cars of all kinds. Lovers in red sport BMW's, mothers in suburbans Odyssey Vans, and fathers with their Ford trucks were all out in full force today. We parked our bikes and hiked for another 15 minutes to reach my son's favorite playground. The 15 minute trail begins on an old road and climbs through a mixed forest of hemlock, maple and alders. It crosses a sturdy bridge over a small stream and, as the trail climbs, the roar of everyday busy traffic fades. A tree gracefully arched over the trail. Several well-signed trail junctions are encountered along the way.

The 15 minutes hike ended quickly and we arrived at the park in which my son named it as Abbey's park. To our surprise, the playground was relatively empty. I would watch my son, run from swing to swing, down the slides he goes and in to the sandbox. After the sandbox comed the giant maze of tree house where he could ring all the bells and whistles or simply hung on the giant tree like trunks like tarzan hooting and howlering like the original wild character himself.

An hour quickly passed and the playground is still relatively empty. My son was still playing by himself and seemed to be loosing some interest after running up and down or perhaps just had a little bit fatigue. My son decided to take a break at the sandbox again. He began digging up sand, filling it in to his beach bucket and trying to build a sand castle. I decided to sneak away for a brief moment to the water fountain nearby. When I came back, I saw an adorable little blue eye blonde girl playing in the sandbox with my son. She had a smile that would light up even a funeral service. She looked like a little angel and my son seemed to be very taken by her giggles. The two were having a great time playing in the sandbox building a little sand castle.

I quickly sneaked back to a big tree close to the sandbox hoping to listen in to their conversation. The little girl made the first move and uttered the sweetest few words an innocent little girl could say to a boy, "ur..hmm...Can I play with you?" And my son being a bit shy only had one respond by turning his head downward. He didn't say a word but only nodded his head in agreement. From the sandbox they soon ran off to the swings together and off they went chasing one another in play and in fun. Whoosh down from the slides and laughing at the top of their lungs as they swang from tree trunks.

Somewhere through the birds chirping, the winds whispering through the perfect morning, or the winding flowing water brooks, I heard my son called out to her name...Abbey!

(The story continues....)