Taking a seat on a cushioned wicker chair, I stretch my legs forward, resting my feet on another. The coffee mug I hold signals a steamy aroma and I indulge a second sip.

A keen sense of satisfaction hangs in the early air as I settle into my restful spot at this temporary residence atop a gradual-sloped hill. The liquid blue of Lake Fort Gibson lies before me, a forested, hilly shoreline her furthest boundary.

Birds twitter their good-mornings and I take in the distant view from my elevated sanctuary.

Where did the years go?

Nineteen Sixty-Four had taken me from Oklahoma’s hills to Wyoming’s Rockies and on to Montana, land of extravagant surprise.

A breeze visited the deck where I sat. It seemed to carry a flavor. Of feeling, warmth, thankfulness.

By week’s end the Seventeen people dearest to our lives – Ann’s and mine – will have gathered here at the lake house, an hour out of Tulsa. Last night’s laughter – light-hearted banter of our earlier arrivals – offered promise of more. Lots more.

It’s an early celebration – five months early. The season’s climate along with travel logistics moved us to fudge the timing. Summer, not December. . . well-suited, too, for the overseas clan just arrived.

Children, their spouses, grandchildren – all converging. From Konawa, from Tulsa, from Congo.

Words of a greeting play at my thoughts, a phrase. Surreal. And sweeter than honey. We’re hearing it these days more and more, my bride and me.

I reach again for the coffee mug. The next swig tastes richer still as I let the phrase replay.

Happy Fiftieth, Grandma and Grandpa.”
©2017 Jerry Lout



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