Wake-up Call


If Thoreau is right, then Ann and I sorta slept through yesterday. We both almost missed our anniversary. Again.She called at noon yesterday, 37 years later, having just remembered why June 11 should mean something to us. She said she’d bring pizza (when was the last time we had pizza since the kids left home?) and I should put the bottle of champagne somebody left here two or three New Year’s Eves ago in the fridge.

Home from work, she lofted the flat pizza box high overhead as she walked up the gravel drive with the dog dancing circles around her on his hind legs.

We put two slices each in a tupperware container, grabbed two glasses (made by Colleen’s son, our favorites) and the chilled bottle of bubbly and walked down the “New Road” to the two white-webbed chairs you saw from a winter picture during an ice storm. They’ve been waiting for us.

We pulled the chairs into the clearing. We watched the sun go down, listened to the night noises, shook our heads how long, how very long it’s been. And started number 38.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Joe and I regularly forget ours (but we drink our of Josh’s cups and mugs anyways) I’m inspired by this not to forget this year.

  2. Happy Anniversary to you both! We’re going to have #43 on 7-2.

    Don’t mosquitoes eat you alive out there at night?

  3. Congrats. Does it really seem so long? Do you ever get that feeling that it was just yesterday that you met?