Wendy's Palm Trees

At seven years of age, precocious little Wendy
announced that one day she was going to marry
that handsome neighbor boy…much to his dismay!
“Me getting married to a girl one day? No way.”

By their mid-teens he had consented to date,
but marriage was still considered a horrid fate.
Wendy’d smile sweetly. “He will come around.
One day he shall see I’m the best wife to be found.”

The times were tough in 1941, the year when they
graduated high school. Who knows just what may
have become of them, but their future, and the world’s,
changed on Sunday, December seventh, for many girls
like Wendy watched loved ones leave for war that day.

Wendy wrote him every day, and for his safe return
she did fervently pray. What details she could learn
of his whereabouts were always few and out of date.
She could but hope…and worry…worry and wait.

Months became years of living with constant fears
for his safety. Then, came his mother all in tears
at Wendy’s front door. A telegram had arrived.
He’d been wounded but was alive, would survive.

The women embraced, both sobbing from relief and joy.
Each wondered what sort of man war had made of the boy.
Months passed. Would he have love for her in his heart?
Then he was there. “Marry me, Wendy, never to be apart.”

Oh, how she cried. Her lifelong dream now to be realized!
>From her letters, her love sent overseas, he now prized
her as never before. He couldn’t have loved her more.
The wedding was simple and small, their happiness immense.
“My darling, we shall live out our dreams for forever hence.”

Money was tight, so they could not afford the honeymoon
of her childhood fantasy - a beach, a huge tropical moon
on some golden isle…Doing without, she truly didn’t mind,
and soon they were busy with life. Things were going fine.

With the GI bill, he went to community college at night.
He started a business, a success with her help. Then right
away they bought a house, their home. Beside the front door
he placed snow-white sand, three palm trees. “Forevermore,
we shall be on a perpetual honeymoon, to our eternal delight.”

And they were…for there truly never was a more loving
and affectionate pair. Their life went joyously rolling
along - business success, four children happily raised,
a fifty-five-year marriage filled full with glorious days.

Wendy treasured those three palm trees and that bit of sand,
which came to symbolize the love shown by her special man.
Then, when he died, late at night Wendy’d go there and stand
looking at the moon. “Darling, I shall join you very soon.”
She died of a broken heart. “Now to resume the honeymoon,”
were her last words. Those who’ve known true love understand.

The buyers of her house declared, “Those ugly palms must go!”
The new owners wouldn’t have cared had they happened to know
how much those three ugly palm trees had been loved by Wendy.
Life continues…time flows on…change comes…thus it must be.
But Wendy’s cut-down palms lying in the gutter are painful to see…

Harry Edward Gilleland      08.07.03