"Well, I'll Be John Brown"

Real stories about folks who have blessed my life with the joy and fulfillment of laughter. Long may they live.

Location: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

A Southern Boy - Born In Alabama, Reared In Georgia, and Matriculated, Married & Initiated Into Manhood In Tennessee.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"Autumn Belle - Chapter 22"

There are some things in this life that heaven just does not explain to mortals. The Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes says that in life, "there is a time to be born and a time to die."

The Good Book doesn't say why this is. It just IS.

Beau waited several days before he broke the news to his mother of the engagement. On Thanksgiving morning, Beau and Autumn enjoyed sharing the longstanding family tradition of a holiday breakfast with the Hamiltons. Then, they hurried to Beau's mother's home to prepare a late afternoon Thanksgiving dinner for her. When they walked in the front door, Rose Jackson could tell something was different about her son and Autumn. They seemed much more at ease and comfortable with each other then they had previously. Beau had asked Autumn to take off the engagement ring and keep it hidden until after they had eaten. She gladly complied.

Beau, with Autumn at his side, cooked a full course Thanksgiving meal that day. Turkey, ham, stuffing, dressing, cranberry sauce, peas, yeast rolls, squash casserole, green beans, giblet gravy, and his mother's favorite dessert, pecan pie. Beau's mother forced down a considerable plate full of the delicious food, seeming to enjoy every bite. Autumn and Beau could see her getting progressively weaker, however. The cancer was gaining steam. Beau wondered how much longer it would be.

After the dishes were done, Autumn slid the engagement ring on her finger. Beau kissed her, whispered his appreciation for her help with the meal, told her he loved her very much and led her into the living room. As they sat down next to the hospital bed, Beau took his mother's faintly tembling hand and slowly began his announcement. "Mom," he said, clearing his throat, "we have got something to tell you." He suddenly reached and took hold of Autumn's left hand, placing it in his mother's. "Mom," he continued, "I have some great news for you...You are going to have a daughter."

Rose Jackson's hand suddenly stopped its shaking. With her thumb, she rubbed the stone in the engagement ring. She pulled Autumn Bell close to her, lifting her hand so she could see the ring. Tears began to form in the corners of her eyes. Her lips slowly curved upward into a smile that brightened the entire room. She stared into Autumn's eyes, and then back at Beau. "I don't know what to say," she said, "except that I am so happy for both of you...I just wish your father was here...He would be so proud...We both always wanted a daughter, just to balance out our two knuckleheaded sons." Rose managed a wink as she squeezed Autumn's hand.

Autumn hugged Mrs. Jackson, and promised her that she would try to be a good wife to Beau. Rose nodded in agreement and replied, "I am sure that you will be perfect for him, Autumn...And, I hope he makes you very happy as well...The life of a serviceman can be tough on his family...He will need you to stand by him, especially when he has to go away...Don't worry...He'll always come home to you...And, you'll both fall in love all over again."

Autumn could not hold back her own tears. She hugged Beau's mother again, and told her that she loved her. This was another first in Autumn's life. She had never before told anyone outside of her own family that she loved them. It just seemed like the natural thing to do with Rose Jackson.

Beau drove Autumn back home. They had taken her Jaguar that morning from her parents' house as they made the trip into Atlanta. Beau was very quiet on the ride back. Autumn kept looking at the ring, thinking of Mrs. Jackson, and hoping that she would still be around when their wedding day finally came.

Beau didn't stay long at Autumn's. He was anxious to get back to his mother. They hugged and kissed for a few minutes on the stately front porch. Autumn watched until Beau's motorcycle lights faded in the distance. As she turned to walk in the house, she suddenly felt a warmth in her heart that had never been there before. Her future as a married person was beginning to fit her like a comfortable pair of shoes. She felt whole. She loved Beau. She felt so close to his mother. She thought about how she would respond to her own children one day as they announced their own engagement to her.

On this chilly November night, Autumn Belle Hamilton felt truly thankful. She had a blessed life, wonderful people and family all around her, and now - love. She had found a love more true than any she had ever imagined.

This truly seemed to be, "her time."