Thin, filmy clouds over the water portended another fiery, beautiful sunset. It was late afternoon and the heat of a sultry day was relenting to the cool sea breeze. He relaxed in a chair on the back porch. It had been a long day and he was really tired. He closed his eyes and listened to the melody of the mockingbird in the trees and after a moment dozed. He woke to the caress of soft, cool fingers along his temples, progressing to his neck and shoulders with a gentle massage.
“Too tired to go for a short ride with me?”
“Never that tired.”
They strolled to the barn that served as a stable for the stallion and two mares, pulled down their tack and saddled and bridled the horses, the stallion for him and the dunn mare for her. Smiling, she rode over to the porch, picked up a bag, and tied it to the back of her saddle. The sun was slowly descending to the horizon when they rode casually across the cotton fields and across the little road that led to a creek in the woods, a favorite place to retreat from the rest of the world, stopping to dismount in a little clearing along the stream.
He untied the bag from her saddle and followed her lead to a spot next to a log across the creek. She spread a blanket and opened the bag as he went back to hobble the horses.
“Starved, sweetness. What do we have for tonight’s meal?”
“Well, let’s see…, fried chicken, potato salad, sliced tomato…, and some peaches for desert. Will that be enough for my hungry man?”
“It’s at least a pretty good start…” “You been busy planning the wedding as nd all? Pops sounds like he wants us to be invitin’ about half of the state.”
“Yeah, I’ve been doing some plannin’. What do you think about Saturday night, right here, with just us, a minister, and a couple witnesses?”
“Saturday night…, as in this Saturday night??? Are you serious, or just pullin’ my leg, girl?”
“Serious as that sunset right over there. What do ya think? Really, sweetheart, I don’t want to have that kind of huge, formal ceremony. It’s just too much and neither of us would know half of the people. I just want to share that moment with you, not the whole world. Can you understand?”
“Yeah, I can understand. I really haven’t been looking forward to this idea of a huge ceremony either. You know me…, I’m a pretty quiet and simple kind of person and l’d like a quiet, simple ceremony too.”
“Good, then, Saturday about 6:30 right here, ok? I’ve already talked to Ed and Barb and they’ll be our witnesses.”
“Am I the only person who doesn’t know what’s goin’ on? What you gonna do if I say no?”
“Well, I guess I’d just have to convince you to say yes…., it’s ok, isn’t it? You’re not angry, are you? I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to spring this on you like this, honey. Please say it’s ok.”
He pulled her into his arms, smiling, “Have I ever been angry with you, darlin’ girl…, and have I ever been able to refuse you anything you wanted?”
“No…, you spoil me worse than Pops does…, and you don’t need to. I just love you so much, sweet darlin’ man. Does this mean it’s ok…Saturday?”
Saturday night came, and at 6:30, in the light of a glorious sunset, four best friends and a minister met at the log along the gurgling creek in the woods next to the little road. After the brief, but romantic little ceremony, bride and groom retired to the boat on the back bay to privately celebrate the close of a very happy day, and the beginning of a beautiful future.
Later, in the early morning as they lay in each other’s arms she turned to him….
“Do you remember when we talked about children, and how many, and having a family, darlin’?”
“Sure, I think I said we should have about six kids, three boys and three girls, and then we’d decide how many more…”, he said with a smile, “and we should start right away.”
“Well, sugar, I think we’ve already started. I think we’re goin’ to have a baby…, I just found out last week. I know you wanted to wait a bit, but…, I’m sorry sweety”
He pulled her closer to him with a smile,”Don’t you apologize, darlin’, not for this ever. A baby…, you’re goin’ to be a mommy and I’ll be a daddy ! Wow ! You’re ok, aren’t you? Are you happy about it? I sure am. I love you more than ever.”
With happy little tears rolling down her cheeks, she kissed him, smiling,” Happier than I could ever tell you, especially knowing you’re happy too.”
Nestled in each others arms, they slept past the dawn of the new day, rising to a brilliant sun reflecting off the mirrorlike calm bay. It was going to be a beautiful day, appropriate to the beginning of their new life…, together, the three of them.