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A Sacred Ground
There they were. All my summer vacations documented in a stone memorial.
Our family didn’t have the means to visit the ranch every year. These rocks symbolized dog-years instead.
I was seven, once upon a time, and that’s when I found this secret spot. The first stone was my marker of the year I rode my first horse and had broken my wrist falling from the same.
The second and third kept a record of the “girl with strawberry curls”. I was too shy to express my adoration at 14 but we fatefully met again when I was 21. My life was forever changed that year.
The fourth stone marked our wedding right there at our happy place, on my 28th birthday, and the fifth commemorated the year our beautiful son, Anthony, was born. We wanted him to know that ‘Sacred Ground’ from the ‘beginning’ so Anthony rode his first horse swaddled in a pack on his mother’s back.
The sixth stone was a remembrance of all the other beautiful visits. It was dampened by tears of loss on that visit for Dad. Dad was the one who chose the vacation spot. I laugh remembering how he’d rub his hands in excitement while we packed for each trip. This year, he had succumbed to a sudden fatal heart attack at age 55. Mom would never be quite the same.
Mother refused a vacation pilgrimage seven years later and 14-year-old Anthony had joined a traveling baseball team, so our ranch vacations abruptly stopped.
Today I placed my stone-the last stone- on the temple I had started 80 years ago.
I am alone again at my special spot. Time has a way of moving ever more swiftly near the end, but a lifetime of memories is here still. My cane is all that supports me now.
I glance slowly around to etch this moment in my mind and those memories on my heart.
Then I close my eyes. To my startling surprise, I still hear a seven-year-old hollering “giddy-up!” in the wind.