once upon a peaceful autumn morning

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Its something a little different for me but it was absolutely a blast writing it.

Submitted: June 03, 2018

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Submitted: June 03, 2018









Mavis McLanders made a fine tea from a blend of willow, rose hip and clover tops. She put the raw ingredients in her special bodum then poured in the rolling boil water. Oh how the steam rose and the instant aroma of the tea filled the room then filtered through the little cottage where she and Tavish, Mr. McLanders, as she called him endearingly, had spent their golden years but now she shuffled alone through the rooms, never quite sure what to do with herself and talking to her beloved as if he were still there, reading, or cooking or sharing their very special tea at the tea table in bay window in the living room.

Mavis looked at the calendar magnetically attached to the fridge door. October 2nd. Her dearest had passed away a full year ago and she was amazed how time seemed to have crept by so slow, day in and day out but the year had flown by. Bernice and Tommy promised would come for a visit today. It was already 1:30 and neither had shown or called, but no matter, they had their own life’s concerns to deal with. Besides, Mavis wanted to have her afternoon tea alone with her Mr. McLanders.

She carried the bodum to the tea table at the bay window, set it down then arranged two cups and the jar of honey so both could reach them comfortably. Then she took her place at the table and looked out the window at the wild rose garden.


Mavis tapped on the window and waved her husband in doors. Tavish waved back then clipped of a pink rose and trimmed the thorns away, then made his way to the back door of the cottage. “Always such a sweet man.” Mavis whispered then said as she heard the back door close. “Your wild roses will win the ribbon at the mid-summer fair this year Mr. Landers.” Then she closed her eyes.

They had been married exactly a year and Tavish announced that he had planned a very special day for them.

And first on the list of special events was a marvelous breakfast, which Tavish created and served. Though their little apartment above the corner store was barely big enough for a kitchenette and a bed sitting room he managed to dress everything up for the event and had gone out to purchase a small, wrought iron garden tea table painted white with a glass top and matching chairs with soft pillows to sit on. Mavis had never felt more in love with Mr. Landers than she did in that moment.

Then when she was comfortably seated Tavish served the breakfast, her favourite and his favourite, though he served her first.

“Here it is my dear. I hope it is just the way you like.” Tavish said warmly as he placed the Eggs Benedict before Mrs. McLanders, as he so affectionate called her.

And for me, sausage and eggs with home fries and for both of us, delicious rye toast with orange marmalade. And of course a bodum of willow, rosehip and clover top tea...

“Never could have there been a more perfect way to celebrate their first anniversary”, Mavis thought not realizing this was just the beginning. She decided to wait before she presented him with her gift.


When breakfast was done and the dishes cleared away Mavis was ready to present her gift but Tavish spoke up first and so excitedly he nearly made himself swoon.

“I am now taking you on our first date my love. Remember our sail along the river in that most wonderful gondola. Well I have hired it again and we must be at the park by ten am. I hope it’s not too much of a rush for you.”

“Not at all. It will be wonderful.” Mavis replied happily and kept her gift a secret for a while longer.

They arrived exactly at ten and Alonzo the gondolier was their waiting with a smile and cheerful Venetian greeting for the anniversary couple.

And once again Mavis thought, Can it get more perfect than this?” but even as the thought whispered through her mind Tavish said, “And soon, but too soon I will show you the best gift at all but first let us enjoy a drink of tea, for I brought a tea thermos and some date squares. I know you adorn date squares and so we shall have a floating picnic for I brought sandwiches as well, with bread and butter pickles and deviled eggs, all you favourites, and we will eat under the bridge where we kissed for the first time.”

Mavis was overwhelmed by her husband’s sweetness and so decided to simply go along for the ride until all his surprises were presented. Her gift was not going anywhere to soon.




The Gondolier brought the gondola to a stop and tied it off to a twig of a tree then let the boat drift under the bridge. Then he turned away while the young couple enjoyed their romantic picnic and spoke of dreams of the future and beautiful memories of their day a year ago.

And Tavish kissed his wife with a loving warmth and tenderness that should be recorded in the ancient books of love.

And when the picnic was done and they were travelling down the river once again Tavish McLanders spoke up excitedly.

“And now my love, a gift I have made of dreaming and scheming, hoping and planning and I hope it is a picture post card image of what you want because as you may not notice at times, I listen to you very carefully when you make your little wishes, though you never say, ‘I wish’.”

“It is just down river a bit, around the bend and set in so that the winter wind will not blow so that it makes the place cold or difficult to keep warm.”

Then just as they came round the bend and into the little alcove where a dock reached out from the shore they came to a cottage, small and quaint, just big enough for them and a child, or two if two were their lot.”

And now Mavis gasped with excitement and threw her arms around her husband’s neck, all in tears of joy and finally with her own news/gift on her breath. “There will soon be three of us to live in our beautiful home.”

Little did Mavis know, because in those days they could not predict, there were two new comers growing in her womb.


Mavis sighed and opened her eyes. Such were those early days, ever filled with joy and for all their sixty years together never was there a harsh moment between them, though they did not always completely agree on every little issue. But the conversations were never ever harsh and angry and mostly, two seconds after the disagreement the matter was pushed off and forgotten and somehow, mystically resolved.

That was the way of them and no one could ever quite understand such perfection and many said with some regularity, “Things like that often go for years then explode and all the bad stuff comes out. But it never did and life for the McLanders  existed in the realm of mists and fairy tales. Her tea was finished and Mr. McLanders cup was empty as well so Mavis cleared away the cups and bodum and soon found her way out0doors to the wide rose garden where her husband had returned and was busy trimming away the last blooms making way for the spring’s bounty. And when she drew near Tavish turned on a heel and asked, “My dearest, the wind is making music in the trees. Could you dance with me while the tune is strong and these old ears can hear them. I do apologize for not being able to hear as well as I use too. I know it must be difficult for you.”

“My dearest Mr. McLanders. Always so sweet and kind and ever the gentleman, of course I will dance with you here among the wild roses and under the willow tree and among the clover bunches. What could be better?”


After many turns around the garden Mavis grew weary and asked that they might sit on the garden swing beneath the weeping willow tree and rest a bit. “I will make us another tea in just a bit my love as soon as I have recovered from our whirls and twirls and swirls.” And as the words whispered past her lips a tune came to mind, one they had listened to not so long before Tavish took his last walk among his wild roses. It was a song they both loved sang long ago by Valdy. Mavis sang a couple of lines, “Whirl and swirl and twirl like drops of water. Dance through the fields with your sons and your daughters.” And suddenly they were all together, Tavish, Mavis and the twins Bernice and Tommy, spinning round and round among the wild roses and under the willow tree.

And as they whirled and twirled and swirled they children grew through the years from infants to teens and adults and finally, they faded having gone off to start their own perfect lives and again it was just Tavish and Mavis sharing the home that he had bought for them twenty some years ago.

Then the time reversed again and Mavis and Tavish were sitting with the children in the living room and Mr.; McLanders was reading from one of his many wonderful books. In this memory he was reading from The Wind in The Willows. He read every night for one hour then Mavis would set the children to bed and single them to sleep with a lullaby.


But time is a strict master and gives no quarter. So the years passed and one night while they were sitting on the garden swing Mr. McLanders leaned to her and kissed her exactly as he had the first time but this time it was the last. “In a soft sad voice he said. “My dearest Mrs. McLanders, My deadest love Mavis, it is time for me to go.” And with a sigh he was gone, away to the world of spirits. Mavis sat there for a long while, silent with her eyes gushing tears that streamed down her cheeks and dripped onto her flowered apron until it was soaked.

Then in soft, loving voice, as she held his hand in hers she whispered. “Journey well my love and when it is my time to follow I will meet you under the bridge where first you kissed me.”

At that, just past the hour of noon Mavis made her way to the river, but now there was no gondola or gondolier and the bank of the river was over grown, left to be reclaimed by nature so she walked along the bank, barefoot in the grass until she came to the bridge, now old and crumbling around its edges and left abandoned like the river bank.

But all was well for there, under the bridge was Tavish, handling the gondola himself, as if he had been doing it all his life.”

“Come my love if you are ready to join me?”

“It is the perfect moment, as perfect as our lives have always been. These seven years without you have been oh so lonely and I have longed for this moment. Please Mr. McLanders. Take me in your arms and away to the world of spirits.”


“Did she say anything before passing.” Tommy McLanders inquired.

“No. Nothing. We wheeled in front of the window so she could look out over the garden as we always do. It seemed that is where she was the most content.” Answered Nurse Neneene. “But all this day she has had a warm smile on her lips and a glint in her eyes.”

“I’ll bet she was dreaming about Dad. I just wish she could have talk to us these past years but I guess the dementia was too advanced. I would have like to hear her speak my name one last time.” Bernice said with tear filled eyes. “I wish I had come earlier.”

“It rarely ever works that way dear.” Said the nurse soothingly.

“All that matters is that I hope she is with Dad now, at peace, at peace on a peaceful autumn morning.


And they danced, once again young and vibrant, Mavis and her Beloved Tavish, Tavish and His beloved Mavis, Mr. and Mrs. McLanders, into the mist of forever and the halls of the Kingdom at the end of the world.


© Copyright 2018 Donald Harry Roberts. All rights reserved.

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