6:30 am. Up at the usual time. Minnie had always heard her mother complain about the fate of growing old; to wake earlier and sleep less. She wondered if this too would happen to her. True, as always Mother was right. But then Minnie was never one to admit such a thing to Mother. Because Mother was always right. There’s a slight chill in the air this morning. November finally feels right in Mount Dora. Minnie slowly rolled cigar-like out of bed and slipped on a robe and shuffled in her bare feet across the wooden floors. Most people put on shoes to warm themselves but Minnie quite liked the few months of cool in the air. Summer was unbearable in Florida. Now was the time to feel the breeze and enjoy the chilly willy weather of November. What to do today? Plenty. Take Charlie to the vet again. Dr. McGrath warned of the constant itching and said that Charlie may have allergies. “Hmph, dogs didn’t have allergies when I was a child. Clever way to squeeze money out of an old ladies’ red leather pocketbook. “ It must have seemed odd to see an old woman with a patent red leather pocketbook but Minnie never minded. It was a gift from Frank.
The one gift from Frank that Minnie treasured. She kept it looking new and always polished and placed in a special velvet bag for safe keeping in the closet. It was a gift from Frank you see. Minnie had admired it for some time in a window at Chase’s downtown. She could never think to buy such an extravagant thing like a red patent leather purse. But Frank listened. He never said anything the day Minnie came into the shop crying because somebody took that purse out of the store window and bought it and now it was gone and Minnie could just die because she wanted to know who took her purse away. Frank listened quietly and smiled. “Aw Minnie, now don’t get so upset. Just look up at the trees. God is up there in those trees. Relax and take a deep breath. I’m sure somebody is going to give that nice little purse a good home.” Frank had a way of making Minnie breathe and relax. His voice was pure and clean and she never once in their forty five years together ever see Frank anything less than cool under pressure. And calm under pressure he was when he pulled out that very red patent leather pocketbook and sweetly handed the box to her on her birthday. Red was Minnie’s favorite color. Frank remembered and quietly stole into Chase’s that very afternoon he saw the look of love on Minnie’s face when she pressed her forehead against the glass of Chase’s window display.
This was a good thing too because Minnie could be a spitfire when crossed. More than once Frank had to step up behind Minnie and whisper to her, “Just look up at the trees Minnie.” This was their code. A language invented between two young lovers that served well into the marriage they would build together. And what a life they had. Minnie had never imagined a family of four boys, a two story house; white with black shutters; living on Lake Dora with orange and grapefruit trees on the left side of the property and enough land on the right for boys to discover mischief around the corner and play games all day drenched in sweat and covered with dirt.
Minnie had grown used to the quiet of the house. It was just Minnie and Charlie now. Not that she minded. What a life they had. Minnie smiled and looked out at the trees. Time to go downstairs to the kitchen to make her morning tea and toast with orange honey and butter. The usual. So many things to do today.
TO BE CONTINUED…..