Tag Archive | marriage

A Mood

James B. Pollard  (10/1/1920 – 1/22/89)

This piece was written during my paternal grandfather’s time in India in World War II – as part of a journal he kept. I had this read at my wedding, which he did not live to see. He was a hero, a gentle and gracious soul and I still miss him all these years later.

J.B. Pollard (WWII pic)

My Grandpa in 1944

Nightfall is once more preparing to enshroud Assam in its blanket of pitch darkness. An American soldier sits alone in his tent on the edge of his canvas cot, his heavy G-I shoes unlaced to cool his burning feet, a cigarette smoldering listlessly between his fingers.

He gazes out at the lengthening shadows in the nearby jungle. He listens to the weird cry of the small jungle wild life – and the insects. He becomes aware of the steady purr of the diesel generators which run constantly day and night supplying power for the small garrison.

Outside he hears the crunch of the guard’s boots on the gravel path as he starts his first tour of duty around the area on his long night vigil keeping his sleeping buddies from harm.

He hears the steady drone of jeeps and trucks racing back and forth on the nearby Stillwell Road. A G-I in a nearby tent is strumming a guitar and singing Western songs softly, while another next door makes a feeble attempt to blow some jazz out of a squeaky clarinet.

The generator coughs and sputters, then catches again and continues on and on with its steady rhythm.

The soldier’s eye falls to on a picture of his family, of which he has been thinking. The children’s locks of hair are in the little frame. He looks closely at it, then back at the picture. He wipes the mold from the leather frame and replaces the picture in its spot on the crude rough cupboard he has made. He continues to look at his pretty young wife and sees many things – First, the woman he is so deeply in love with. His mind flashes quickly back over the few preceding years and he is doubly homesick. He also sees the mother of his children – the financial wizard who makes ends meet somehow on a meager monthly sum. He sees the wonderful cook, who in happier days planned and prepared his menus. He sees many things in that wonderful wife. In his children he sees the happiness of days past and in those to come.

The tent door slams and the Sergeant from Tennessee appears, whistling loudly, “Flying Home.” He reaches over the rough table, snaps on the light and suddenly becomes quiet. His happy mood has been killed by the sullen expression on his friend’s face.

“What’s the matter ‘J.B.’ . . .  homesick?”

A dull reply of “Yeah. . . “ and the cigarette is ground into the concrete floor. For a moment, silence, except for the sounds of nature – and the machinery.

The Sergeant breaks the spell again, “Let’s get out of this rat trap, wander over the day-room and I’ll beat the pants off you in ping-pong.”

The door slams – the two men walk down the narrow path together, staring into the black jungle ahead. Neither man speaks. . .they are thinking. . .

It is nighttime in Assam.  . . .

Advertisements

Proposal gone wrong

I had my first proposal of marriage on Valentine’s Day, more years back than I would care to admit. While we had looked at rings, I truly was surprised when the moment came. No flowers or fancy environment, he proposed in my living room late in the morning. He got down on one knee (I was sitting) and pulled out a ring and said, “Will you marry me?”

Now any sane young woman would say “Yes” to a proposal – or maybe “No” or “Let me think about it. . .”  Not me. No, I looked at the beautiful gold band with a diamond and two rubies and said “Oh, it’s the wrong ring!”

I think that took him a bit by surprised. “Is that a yes or a no?”

“Yes! But, it’s the wrong ring! I wanted white gold!”

I accepted the proposal and rejected the ring. Seriously. He had worked hard to get that ring, in the right size, for that particular day. I found out that an employee from the jewelery store had to drive to another store the day before to pick it up and have it ready. Imagine her surprise when we walked into that jewelry store to exchange the ring for one with while gold (no rubies although they were not the issue.)  We had to wait a few days for the diamond to be reset, and then he did the proposal – again.

When I called my parents to let them know I was engaged, my father answered. I told him about the issue with the ring and what I had said. He surprised me with his response: “Your mother said the same thing to me when I proposed!” Too funny! I had never heard that story before!

I still, all these years later, laugh at how I responded to a marriage proposal, unwittingly the same way as my own mother had!

We won’t talk about whether it was the “right man.”  He canceled the engagement six months before the wedding and I returned the ring at that time.