Hand-painted, heirloom china,
On a cloth of Irish lace,
An ice bucket with champagne,
All in order and in place.
Highly polished sterling,
To the left and to the right,
Reflecting bits of fire,
From flickering candlelight.
Candle flames  more lively now,
 Casting shadows through the room,
Creating chorus lines,
Of careening, wild buffoons.

A centerpiece of roses,
Still fresh from morning dew,
Hand picked for size and color,
Endowed with fragrance, too.
Background music, sweet and low,
Much loved romantic songs,
Chosen just for this occasion,
Playing on ... and on ... and on.
"A toast," she cried and raised her glass,
She blew a kiss across its brim,
It landed in the open air,
But she had meant that kiss for him.

She sighed a bit, as she slowly sipped,
The liquid in her glass,
It pleased her palate and teased her mind,
With visions of the past.
Her quivering lip and trembling chin,
Were steadied by her hand,
She was lost in thoughts she had not sought,
But somehow she could not ban.
She caressed the diamond ring she wore,
So old now, its band was thin,
She recalled the day he'd put it there,
No way could such an image dim.

How long had he been gone?
Age and time had blurred her mind,
Was it days ... or months ... or years?
Or ... any of those times?
Some drops of wine spilled from her glass,
Or were those teardrops from her eye?
"Foolish woman," she shook her head,
"It does no good to cry."
She recalled their wedding; it was grand,
They danced that night and drank champagne,
They could not have been more happy,
And they vowed each year to do the same.

So every year upon that date,
For many, many years years,
They dined and celebrated,
With laughter, love, and tears.
Through the years they loved and cared,
Until one day her husband died,
So close, the two of them had grown,
She was not sure she could survive.
But women are indomitable,
They are stubborn, obstinate, and tough,
They don't give in, and they don't give up,
They are made of sterner stuff.

"Here's to us!" She raised her glass,
It was the time to celebrate
Though now alone, she'd keep her word,
And never would forget the date.
She'd planned a gala, festive dinner,
With love and dedication,
And now, somehow, she would enjoy
This promised celebration.
Her best china had been put to use,
The good silver and the candlesticks,
And her culinary skills called up,
For the scrumptious dinner she had fixed.

Every year, of course, she wondered,
If next year would be the same,
Or if their feast would be in heaven,
With angels pouring their champagne?
It was not a question then of "if,"
As much as a question then of "when,"
When would their celebration be
Up in heaven ... just for them?
Virginia (Ginny) Ellis
Copyright September 2006


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