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I'LL MEET YOU AT THE FOOTBRIDGE
By Author Grace Augustine
Caitlyn sat down on my lap and snaked her little arms around my neck. It made me smile to know my great-grandchildren loved spending time with us.
“Tell me again, how you and great grandpa met,” she pleaded.
I pulled her little nine-year-old body closer to me for a hug and kissed her temple. She knew this story frontwards and backwards, but always had to have me retell it whenever she visited.
“Well, Catie, I wasn’t very good at picking out boys to date. After four years of high school and four years of college, I’d had countless boys that were just terrible.”
Catie nodded her head.
“That’s when you asked great great grandma to fix you up, right?”
I snickered silently at that sentence. Yes, that is when I had to be fixed up with a date.
“Yes, Catie. My mom and I sat at the kitchen table discussing boys and how most of my friends were married and having children. Then there was me…”
“Yeah, but, you were beautiful, Oma Marie. You still are.”
“Oh, child, thank you. Now, do you want me to finish this story, or are you going to tell it to me?”
“I’ll shut up, Oma Marie,” the little poppet affirmed.
“My mom worked at a factory with a lot of other people. There were some young men there, one in particular, who wasn’t having any luck with dating. So, my mom asked him if he would like to come to dinner. I was mortified! But, I’m the one who told her to find me someone to marry.”
Catie laughed at that. She opened her mouth, but shut it quickly.
“Your Opa Mark knocked on the door of our home and, of course, my mom made me answer the door. There he stood, all six-foot-six of him, dressed to the nines. No words came out of my mouth. I just stared at him. He probably thought I was the biggest loser he’d ever met. My mom yelled at me to invite him to come in, so I did.
“The dining room table was filled with food, and my two sisters and mom and dad. After dinner, mom suggested that Mark and I go in the living room and get to know each other. We spent the next three hours talking and laughing. When it was time for him to leave, I walked with him to the door. He kissed my cheek and asked when he could see me again.”
I tear up every time I tell this story to sweet Caitlyn. I hugged her closer to me as I thought of my darling, Mark. He is the best thing that ever happened to me. I constantly thank my mother in Heaven for introducing us.
“This is where Opa Mark asks you to meet him at the bridge, right?” Caitlyn’s head bobbed, as did her blonde curls.
“Yes, honey, this is where Opa Mark and I met at the bridge. Every time we met, we met at the bridge before we went out on our dates. Three months into our relationship, Opa Mark asked me to marry him,right there, standing in the middle of the bridge... and I said yes. Each year on our anniversary, we walk the length of that bridge, always stopping for a kiss in the very spot he proposed and remember that special night. Tomorrow, we will be married fifty-five years.”
“Oma Marie! That’s a very long time! I wonder if my Momma will pick my husband.”
“Oh, Catie, you have years before you have to worry about that. Enjoy your time growing up. When it’s time for that special boy in your life, I’m sure you will have many knocking on your door.”
“But, I don’t want many. I just want one. I want one that is as special as Opa Mark,” Catie stated. “You love Opa Mark a whole lot, don’t you?”
“I love Opa Mark with all of who I am, honey.”
“Are you going to the bridge tomorrow? Can I come?”
I smiled down at my oldest great grandchild. She was so much like her grandmother and her mother with a bit of me mixed in there for good measure.
“Yes, Opa Mark and I will walk down that bridge tomorrow. We must do that. It’s tradition. And, Catie, no, you can’t go with us tomorrow. But, whatcha say to us doing it another day? We’ll get ice cream.”
Catie’s eyes grew large at the thought of ice cream. Again, her arms were around my neck and she kissed my cheek.
“I love you Oma Marie, and Opa Mark, and I love that bridge, too.”