time together is now measured in seasons,"
he said as they sat on their front porch.
Walking is the best exercise for you.
Not only in the physical sense. But
also for your mental and spiritual well
being. This walk is one I will never
forget. Up the hill behind my home
runs a path that at one time would take
you into a beautiful wooded area.
But in recent years someone plowed down
the trees and built their little piece of
the world. Oh, you can still get to
the wooded area, but now you must cut
through the development or walk up through
the cemetery. If I want scenery I go
through the development. If I want
to remind myself how blessed I am, I go
through the cemetery.
Today's walk took me through the
There's a beautiful old stone house that I
have admired since moving here more than
10 years ago. I have spoken to an
older retired couple working in their yard
nearly every time I passed there.
They must work long and hard in the garden
because their home is beautifully
landscaped. Among the bountiful
flowers and bushes I could see Greek
statues and bird baths. There are
trees whose names I am not familiar with
and lush ground cover of deep greens that
remain that way well into winter.
But in this past year I have noticed a
The bushes have grown beyond their
earlier, well manicured size. Many
of the smaller trees have taken over their
spots as branches hang lower nearly
covering the flower beds below. This
once pristine garden spot has become a
reflection of the condition of it's care
They have grown too physically old to keep
up with it.
"How are you today my friends?" I
asked as I passed by their front porch.
"We are as fine as can be expected, sir,"
the gentleman replied.
There they sat on the front porch of their
home. He had on a warm woolen
jacket, open at the front revealing a blue
sweater vest. In spite of the fact
that they hardly go any where, he wore a
tie as always. She sat in an old
wooden rocker wrapped from head to toe in
a beautiful autumn quilt. Beneath,
she appeared to have a heavy sweater and
woolen pants. In contrast I was
wearing a t-shirt and jeans. At
their age even the slightest chill
requires warmer clothing.
"Are you ready for winter?" I asked.
"In past years we looked forward to cold
winter days. Our fireplace and enclosed
porch out back was a haven from the
heaviest storms. And a great place
for a cup of tea and a good book.
Have you written another one yet?" he
"Not yet published, but I have written
stories along the way that will be put
into a collection very soon. I
promise to bring one to you," I said.
"I hope we are here to read it," he said.
"Are you leaving the area?" I asked.
"No my friend. Like the season we
now find so beautiful, we are in the
Autumn of our lives. Our time
together is now measured in seasons.
I pray that we survive the winter," he
said. Then turning toward his wife
he said, "My love is not doing very well.
My heart aches for her. I am not sure that
we will..." He began to cry.
I nervously brushed the leaves on the
sidewalk with my feet not knowing whether
to say something or permit him to
"I once loved the beautiful display Autumn
created in our yard. I guess I
should be thankful that it has given us at
least one more spectacular show. But
as the leaves begin to fall I see my
wife's spirit begin to fade."
"I don't know if I ever told you this.
But your beautiful handy work, your gift
for bringing life to the world in the form
of breathtaking flowers and trees, has
lifted my spirits many times just when I
needed it. For years now I have
walked by your home and paused long enough
to be refreshed. It must give you
great satisfaction to see the fruits of
your labor," I said.
"Yes, it has. Except for this year.
We could do little because of my wife's
failing health. I always knew that I would
be able to recognize when our time
together was coming to an end," he said.
Then as he stepped carefully off the porch
he pointed to the garden path that began
nearby and wrapped the entire house.
"That trellis covered with roses was
designed to look like the gates of Heaven.
I envisioned that one year we would enter
those gates one last time and walk along
the garden path together. I knew
there would come a time when she would not
be able to stand for long periods."
He stopped for a moment and looked at her.
She sat quietly never saying a word and
smiled her heavenly smile whenever their
eyes made contact. "I vowed to never
walk that path alone. She has been
by my side forever."
I walked over to the gate and looking at
the surroundings I asked, "Have you
walked through it this year?"
"No. That is why it is in such
disrepair," he replied. "But it is
our dream to see April together once more.
And have one more walk along..." he
stopped. "Oh, my Lord," he said.
"That is our favorite song."
"I'm not familiar with it. What's it
"One more walk along the Garden" written
by Lerner. It is from a musical.
It seems so very appropriate now. I
guess we knew the day would come and the
longing for one more walk would leave us
cold like the winter," he said.
Then the thought came to me. You
know where thoughts like these come from.
"Do you have a wheel chair?" I asked.
"Yes. On the back porch. We
only use it down stairs. I couldn't
maneuver her outside. The pathway is
not paved," he said.
"Yes, but I can. Tell your wife
we're going for a walk. I'll get the
Picture for a moment the three of us
outside the Gates of Heaven...their
Heaven. We carefully wrapped her in
the quilt and added a warm hat. He
stood to her left along side the chair
holding her mitten clad hand. We
began the journey together. Perhaps
one last time. But with one
"Forget that I am here," I said. "I
want this to be your moment together.
I will remain quiet and out of the
picture. Think of me as the hands of
God supporting her."
I tell you as sure as I am writing this, I
did indeed feel invisible. It was
perhaps more in my mind than reality. But
the second we crossed through the gate, I
could see her standing there beside him.
I was witness to a remarkable moment when
he began to sing softly to her. We had
stopped for a moment and he knelt down in
front of her. It almost looked like
he was about to propose. He sang
"One more walk along the garden, one more
stroll along the shore." Caressing
his face, she leaned over and kissed him.
I have no idea how long it took. I
wish it could have been forever. One
day it will be.
"Thank you! You have no idea what
you have done for us," he said.
"You have no idea what you have done for
me," I replied. "With your permission this
is a story for my next book."
Then his wife reached up, and touching my
hand smiled at me. From under her
quilt she pulled out a small dried out
rose she had plucked along the way.
She gestured for me to take it.
Pausing for a moment I grabbed her hand
and placed it in his.
"He should have the last rose of summer.
A flower to remind you both that April is
waiting for you."
In all of my remaining days I will forever
be grateful that I had taken that walk.
You see I walked through Heaven's gate for
"One more walk along the Garden."
In closing I need to share this with you.
After hearing him sing I realized that I
was familiar with that song. I have
a CD by Michael Feinstein. It is
called the "Burton Lane Songbook Vol 1"
I share some of the words here with you.
"One more walk along the Garden"
by Alan Jay Lerner from the stage musical
That old April yearning
Once more is returning
And I have a longing to wander
The leaves may be falling
But April is calling.
And the prim roses beckon me yonder
For one more walk along the garden
one more stroll along the shore.
One more memory I can dream upon
Until I dream no more.
For one more time perhaps the dawn will
And one more prayer it's not too late
To gather one more rose
before I say goodbye and close the garden
"I wish you enough!"