A letter to Janie in heaven . . .

09 Jan

Dear Janie,

Yesterday was the eighth day of January 2010, a supremely significant Saturday (ah, that alliteration—I cannot resist it). The entire world knows at least one reason why yesterday was significant. Elvis Presley was born on that day in 1944. Had the rock-and-roll star stuck to singing (more alliteration) and kept his distance from fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches he could have celebrated his seventy-sixth birthday yesterday—some say that drugs contributed to his early demise.

Yesterday Debra, our elder daughter—I use the phrase elder daughter because it carries far less emotion than older daughter—celebrated her fifty-seventh birthday. She and our granddaughter and their friend Sandy whiled the day away shopping in Austin at Sam Moon’s mercantile for Chinese-made items, primarily jewelry, and enjoyed a birthday lunch—probably at a McDonald’s outlet—no, not really—I’m certain that they went to a five-star restaurant, assuming that Austin has such.

I called Debbie on her cell phone and submitted her to the birthday song—I’m unsure whether she has recovered from that cacophony of sound. She has breezed past the half-century mark in age and added seven years, and she could easily pass for thirty—alright, she could definitely pass for thirty-five. I believe that her satisfaction with her work in one of San Antonio’s school districts is helping her stay young—that and her plethora—call it a gaggle—of close friends.

I believe that most of the credit for her youthful look can be attributed to the genes bequeathed by her mother, a lady that has always appeared far younger than her years. I would like to believe that I contributed to that youthful look, but I’m honest enough to give full credit to her mother for that.

Janie, if you’ll take a quick look at a certain spot in a certain section of Fort Sam Houston’s National Cemetery you’ll see a brilliantly white marble marker, newly erected, with a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers placed in front of it. The marker is etched with all the pertinent information required by military regulations, and the words Cry not for me, I wait for thee.

I have been unable to comply with the CRY NOT FOR ME admonition, but your statement that I WAIT FOR THEE has stood me in good stead and kept me from unraveling completely. That phrase is in the forefront of the multitude of reasons why I love you, and in the words of Emily Dickinson in her timeless poem, I shall but love you better after death.

The beauty of the flowers will last for several days in the cool weather of this December, but with the summer sun I’ll need to replenish them far more frequently, but I don’t mind—they are from our local HEB market—this is perhaps one of the best bargains that can be found in one of the finest markets in our city—nay, one of the finest in our nation.

Sweetheart, I’ll close for now. I have a photo of your marker taken by my new Sprint 4G phone, but I haven’t figured out how to get it from the phone to my computer. When I do I’ll add it to this letter.

Sleep well in heaven, my darling.

I love you more today than yesterday, but less than tomorrow.


Postscript: The marker photo was added today, January 10, 2011.


Posted by on January 9, 2011 in death, flowers, funeral, Military


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 responses to “A letter to Janie in heaven . . .

  1. sue

    January 9, 2011 at 7:35 am

    As I was reading, I was thinking how much I’d love to see a photo of Janie’s marker and as I get to the end of your writing I was so pleased to see that you’ll be putting up a photo of it. And, happy birthday to Debbie who is joyful beauty inside and out!

    • thekingoftexas

      January 10, 2011 at 8:25 am

      Hi, Sue—thanks for the comment. I just added the photo this morning, and I also am sending it to you via e-mail. Fort Sam’s National Cemetery family is more than 130,000 strong, but Janie’s marker stands a bit taller and shines a bit brighter than any of the others because it marks the spot that is reflecting a bright light that will never be extinguished. It isn’t my imagination, but I readily admit that I am far more than a bit biased! (note the !).


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