Fifty years ago this week in 1968, I was searching for a third anniversary gift for my wife who had given birth to our first born nine months previously. We were and have been every since, a family—in the true sense of the word. I was broke (a fairly common occurrence most of our married life), but I was also a romantic and a long way from graduate studies in literature, yet I wrote “To Karen” from my heart and had it engraved. We still have the original and only copy.
The freshness smell of wildflowers glistening with dew,
The gentle sound a mother makes to answer baby’s coo.
The grandeur of a rainbow stretching far across the sky,
The loving look reflected in a little baby’s eye.
The misty feelings moonbeams bring encircling your face,
Your happiness in frilly things in satin bows and lace.
The softness of a lazy cloud adrift on an airy ocean,
The redeeming loss of self that stems from full devotion.
The prophetlike determination that’s sometimes a little chafing,
But tempered with a lively love renewed with every waking.
A passion-sweet sensation that flows tween man and wife,
The miracle-joy of parenthood from creating human life.
Not nature in its glory nor my simple words of rime,
Could ere approach the golden bond that’s only your and mine.
Not exactly Shakespeare, but she liked it, and as we approach our golden anniversary in a few weeks, Karen brought this to me to show me that she still had it. We still have it, too, fifty years later. The poem is as true now as it was then. A lot of water has passed under our bridge, but our bridge still stands thanks to the grace of God. There are still feet waiting to pass over it, and we welcome them.