“God, I miss him. Sometimes it’s hard for us to understand about your perfect timing, Lord,” I prayed. Then I picked up the broom and began to sweep away the leaves from off my front porch. I brushed the bottom step of summer’s dirt and placed my broom beside the door. The screen banged shut when I went inside to get the harvest decorations from the boxes in the hall.

I wiped my forehead with the corner of my apron. The cool air carried the scent of an autumn rain and I wanted to get the chore finished before the rain came. Bill usually helped me, bringing down the boxes from the attic and keeping me company while I decorated. It was a tradition. We always saved the porch for last. When the decorations were nearly finished, Bill would slip off and make some of his special homemade cider. We would return the empty boxes to the attic. Then we would sit and sip cider and admire our creation over a conversations that lasted way into the night.

I could almost see him sitting in his chair in his worn denim jacket scratching his gray beard, blue eyes twinkling as he teased me. “May, why don’t you move that pumpkin a little to the right? A little to the left. No, I think you had better put it right back where you had it. It looked fine there after all.”

“Bill!” I tried to sound angry, but he would wink at me and then we would both begin to laugh. A tear rolled down my cheek at the memory.

“Who wants some fresh cider?” came a voice from the kitchen.

I’m out here on the porch,” I yelled.

Billy carried two brown mugs of steaming hot cider. He wore the denim jacket and his blue eyes met mine in a knowing sort of way.

“A sight for sore eyes” I said as I hugged his neck and kissed his cheek before taking my cup of cider. “Looks, delicious, Billy! You even remembered the orange slice. “Come sit down” I said and offered him a chair.

I held the mug to my nose and inhaled the sweet spicy aroma. The orange tangy liquid soothed my soul and warmed my heart . “Your dad would have been proud! How did you know?”

“Dad gave me the recipe a long time ago, Mom.”

“Oh, I know that. But, how did you know that today I’d be here decorating. ”

“I didn’t.”

“Did you know that it was our tradition to have cider when we finished decorating? I smiled and tried unsuccessfully to hold back the tears that were streaming down my face.

Billy set his cup down and leaned over to pat me on the arm. “Mom, you are not going to believe this, but this morning Linda asked me to get a bowl down from the top shelf in the kitchen and when I pulled the bowl from the shelf a piece of paper floated down. It was Dad’s recipe. Linda suggested I make it and bring you some.” He said.

We drank in silence surrounded by pumpkins, scarecrows, and the scent of spice candles. “You know, neither one of us remembered putting it up on that shelf.” Billy said.

I closed my eyes and prayed, “Thank you, Lord for perfect timing – even when we don’t understand.”

Written for Magpie Tales.

8 responses to “Tradition

  1. Beautiful. I don’t believe in coincidence.

  2. Autumn memories – sad but tender.
    Strummed Words

  3. So beautiful. Stories like this are so affirming, so laced with perfection (as is your writing and your blog!)

  4. It’s a very fine story. I agree with Willow.

  5. his timing is so much better than ours…smiles. a wonderful write…nice magpie

  6. beautiful, beautiful, beautiful… I love heavenly hello’s and gotcha’s
    they are well timed.

  7. Timing of those wonderful, coincidental hello’s, or not so coincidental, are always amazing to me…. beautifully written. Thank you for sharing this reminder of those special moments.

  8. A wonderful tale, sad yet not overly so.

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