Part Four

13 February
We had a few neighbors over for brunch. Sar always puts a nice spread of food on the dining room table-- waffles, scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, link sausages, biscuits, maple oatmeal crisps and coffee. There's a platter of cheeses and crackers and cut fruit. She has ice cream for those that like it on their waffles and a coffeecake that doesn't have sugar in it. One of our neighbors has diabetes and Sar likes to make sure there's plenty of good things for the woman to eat. The surprise dessert is her famous black and white cookies which get consumed almost before I had time to grab one! She assures me she saved a few for later.

It's a cold afternoon but the sun is shining and the neighbors have brought their dogs. We enjoy the backyard while the dogs play and then Sar gives a short lesson on the "down/stay command." It is always a chuckle to watch the occasional dog slink on its belly toward its owner when it is supposed to remain where it is-- sort of like when I tell Sar she needs a nap and I discover she's on the computer. Ok, she doesn't slink but it's the same principle.

The aftermath is similar. Sar shows the owner how to reposition the dog and not yell but firmly put it back where it's supposed to be with the appropriate words and hand signals. I often pick Sar up and reposition her in bed with a what did I tell you? and a firm swat to her tush. In case you wondered-- unlike Sar, the dogs learn faster and don't give any sassy back talk.

That night I pull Sar out of chat so we can retire early. Tomorrow is Valentine's day and we have the day to ourselves. I want her well rested to enjoy it fully.

14 February
Valentine's day starts with mimosa-- a mixture of champagne and orange juice and a tray with a single rose, a bowl of strawberries and a bowl of melted chocolate. We've had lots of Valentines days together but mostly they have been days when I reported for duty and we did what many couples do. We'd have a special dinner together or an evening of dancing. I always bring flowers. I spent a few of these holidays at sea and a phone call and wired flowers and chocolate were all I could manage. I've been away for a long tour of duty and during that time Sar recuperated on her own from a serious accident and several painful surgeries. She had nursing care but it's not the same as it would have been if I had been home.

So this Valentines day it's not just the holiday we're enjoying. We're making up for that lost time when we would have comforted each other through a trying time. Sar can take care of herself in most situations but it's something I prefer to do for her. She's mine. I love her. Her welfare and happiness is more important to me than anything else.

I kiss her awake and when her eyes are focused I pull her onto my lap so we can start our day. We share the mimosa and strawberries-- our fingers get coated with chocolate when we dip them and we spend an enjoyable time eating and drinking and saying the things lovers say to each other at a time like this. A shower follows and then Sar stands behind me with her arms around my waist while I shave. This takes longer than usual because her arms feel good and I have to stop every few seconds and tickle her or just hold her. She ends up with as much shaving cream on her face as there is on mine. Eventually she behaves for a few minutes and we go downstairs and see about breakfast.

I take care of the dogs while Sar starts breakfast. She has promised to make strawberry crepes with strawberry sauce and whipped cream and also Irish coffee. This is on top of the mimosa we drank so there's a chance my sweetheart will soon be a bit tipsy. I am looking forward to that possibility. While the crepes are working she makes brown sugar oatmeal for the dogs and I put some outside on the deck for the outdoor Rotts along with a bunch of liver dog biscuits she made the other night. The house dogs and the cats are polishing off their breakfast and content to take a nap and leave us alone.

When breakfast is ready, Sar disappears for a few minutes and comes back wearing her birthday suit which is barely concealed by a red apron. The apron is in the shape of a red heart and is made of lace. Everything essential is covered and exposed at the same time and I'm wondering how she expects me to eat crepes when she looks like something good enough to eat.

I try to restrain myself while she puts the food on the table-- her entire back and backside are totally bare. The food smells good. My wife looks and smells good. My mouth waters and frankly, I'd like some crepes and some Sar-- not necessarily in that order. She says shall I serve you? Then the imp laughs when I groan. She keeps this up and I might have to turn that cute tush of hers as red as her apron.

Breakfast was a very satisfying meal.

We had a leisurely morning. We spent it going through old photo albums and drinking more mimosas. Sar was cuddled on my lap while we went through the pictures. Every now and then we'd come across one that made her giggle and when she did, I couldn't help myself. I love her giggle. I'd have to kiss her or tickle her to make her laugh some more. In between the giggles and the mimosas, there were chocolates from the big box on the coffee table.

Lunch was chocolate covered strawberries and more champagne. Sar was looped. As her husband I took this as a sign of surrender and did what any red-blooded male would do-- I took advantage of her.

Supper was late and a favorite-- chocolate cheesecake and steak in pretty much that order. That's the first meal we ever shared and it always brings back the memory of our first meeting. We fed each other, drank a bit of wine and then I took my lover to our bed. She loved the lingerie I bought for her, the roses and the imported chocolates she'll enjoy another time. The way she whispered my name when I made love to her was the best gift of the day.

15 February
When I'm home my exercise routine differs somewhat from my regular one. I am a former Seal and staying physically fit is ingrained. I like to start the day with a 5 mile jog and if I can manage 10 miles, that's better. Sar wants to jog with me and I agree. She likes to run but she'll run until she's out of breath and with her respiratory problems, I won't let her do that. Jogging is slower than running and I can pace her-- a slow jog building to a brief faster one and then back down to a slower pace. If I see she's starting to fade I can give her a "pony ride" home. She threatens to buy a riding crop but I remind her if she runs when she's not supposed to it's not my butt that's gonna get tanned.

Later I take her to a local cafe that has a breakfast buffet all morning. She fills her plate with sausages and cinnamon rolls and butter and coffee. I add a tall glass of milk to her meal and a bowl of buttered grits. It's close to hot cereal and something she likes. When she's distracted by our conversation, I slip a bite of my eggs or toast between her lips. One of our older neighbors is eating here today and drops by our table for a quick hello. She sees what Sar is eating and says she should stop eating junk and eat healthier. I move Sar's coffee and glass of milk away from the imp's hand just in case.

We play tourist today and go down to Fort Defiance, a small zoo and aquarium far south of us. They have a wide assortment of animals and an impressive exhibit of Beluga whales. We are mesmerized by their beauty. There's an old walrus that talks a lot and Sar talks back which only encourages the beast. There's also an extraordinary exhibit of orangutans. Their habitat is enclosed by a thick wall of glass and you can stand on one side-- the apes on the other-- and watch each other. Sar sits on the ground and puts her palms on the glass. An orang sits opposite her and puts his hands on hers on the other side of the glass. She puts her forehead on the glass. The ape does the same and when Sar moves her face back and forth against the glass, the ape puts his face on the glass where hers is. It is sad and it is beautiful and I take her picture with the "wise man" and am grateful it is illegal to have this animal for a pet. I have to pick her up to get her to move away.

On the way home we stop at a little shop owned by a silk weaver Sar knows. I look around while they talk threads and I pick out a few for her. She selects a few as well and chatters about them and the zoo the rest of the way home. She seems a bit worn out and it isn't long before she falls asleep. I pull her closer to me. We have had a full day.

16 February
I report back for duty next week. The days of leisure have flown by and they have been most enjoyable. Sar needs to work on a quilt project this morning and I am feeling a need to workout a bit. I call an old friend to workout with me. Sar says she will make lunch and to bring the guy home with me. Before I leave, I slip some chocolate into her pocket and she tells me not to overdo the exercising. She reminds me that I'm not as young as I used to be. I deliver a firm swat to her tush as I leave. Her laughter makes me smile all the way to the gym.

I call her about an hour before we'll be home in case she's lost track of time and when we get there, Sar has lunch out on the deck. It's cool out but the sun is shining and it's a great day to eat outside. She's made thick sandwiches - clubs and Monte Christos and Ruebens. There's also slaw and chips and beer and pop and I wonder who is going to eat all this but then I hear voices as my wife and a couple of her lady friends come around the corner of the house. It was a great lunch with a lot of laughter. She made banana splits for dessert and everybody dug in.

The afternoon is ours and we stay outside and wrap ourselves up in a heavy quilt. We're reading the "classics" again and we're reading them together. Right now we're reading Shakespeare's sonnets. I read a sonnet to her and then Sar reads a sonnet to me. They are much more enjoyable reading them together. Every now and then there's a line or phrase that strikes us in just the right place and the book drops to the deck and we cuddle for a while. We finally go back in the house when the dogs get curious as to what we're doing.

There's pasta e fagioli and hot garlic bread for dinner, some wine and chocolate cannoli. I help Sar clear the dishes away and not much later, she's back in my arms while we watch television. I think about the meals she has been making since I've come home. A lot of special meals-- she cooks food she knows I love and I think that is just one of many things she does to please me. I am sure you know by now that she pleases me very much.


~ End Part Four ~

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