Adeline sat quietly, enjoying the warm sun on her face. It was one of those rare moments when she could sit on her porch with no interruptions and reminisce quietly.
“Oh wait me! Not fair! Grandma I coming!”
The silence of a few moments ago was shattered by the arrival of three tow haired children of varying ages and variable vocal capabilities. They had several things in common: hair colour, freckles, parents and an innate ability to force the world to focus on them.
Adeline may have been jolted out of her reverie but she looked with fondness on the three grandchildren approaching her at a run. They arrived windblown and excited. Once all three had wrapped themselves around their grandmother and kissed her at least a dozen times each, they settle down and with one voice asked one question: “Story Gran?”
The three children were not the only ones out of breath. Adeline smoothed her tousled hair and sat back with a grin. She knew exactly where this was headed.
“Well now I don’t know if I should tell you a story. I’m quite sure it would be beneficial to have an in-depth political discussion on what is happening in the world today.” She looked at the puzzled faces in front of her.
“No Gran we want you to tell us the story of how you met grandpa.”
Adeline looked at the eldest of the three children. She wondered how she had thought to ask that question. Elizabeth was intelligent and very sure of herself. It was an odd trait to have in a child that was only twelve years old. Her sister Anne and brother Stuart were ten and five respectively. And both of them were looking on eagerly waiting for their grandmother’s reply.
“Well now I don’t know . . .” started Adeline.
“Daddy said it was one for the books. Did he mean you should write about it and let everybody know?”
Adeline eyes opened wide, “I’m sure that’s not what he meant!” She whispered to herself. To the children she spoke clearly, deftly ignoring the question.
“Well, I’ll tell you a story about your grandfather and me. It’s about how we met, umm, but you know I can’t tell you everything. Your grandfather and I have to keep some secrets from you three. At least until you’re older.” Adeline was smiling; she hoped the children didn’t notice that she was also blushing.
” Well, it all started when your grandfather arrested me.” Before she could utter another word, the children erupted.
“Oh, Gran you were a criminal!”
“I’ll bet you robbed a bank! Mama says they’re the criminals!”
“Grandma were you a prostate…, a prosta, a Protestant!”
Adeline smiled and calmed the children. She thought it best that she not tell Stuart the word he was looking for was a prostitute.
“Absolutely not! It wasn’t that kind of arrest. Now if you want me to continue you must be very quiet.”
Three fair heads nodded vigorously.
“Your grandfather was a Ranger. It’s like a policeman. He worked the local parks and made sure there were no criminals or any criminal activity. He also made sure that those who came to enjoy the parks were not harassed. Unfortunately, I was in the park to harass someone.”
It was at this point that Adeline stopped to think. Should she tell the three rapt faces the complete truth or should she perhaps edit the circumstances to fit her audience’s age group? Edit, it was the adult thing to do.
“I had recently broken up with my boyfriend. Actually, I was about to break up with my boyfriend. You see he was at the park with another girl. She was supposed to be my best friend but she had stolen my boyfriend. It was my intent to catch them together and embarrass them. You see the particular spot they had gone to was known as Lover’s Lane. It’s where everybody went when they were dating. It was secluded and quiet. Aaahhhh, it was a great spot to watch the stars.”
Adeline paused for a moment to remember the circumstances. She had left out the bit about the can of black paint she had planned to pour on her boyfriend’s car. That would definitely have been illegal so she really didn’t think it was a good idea to tell the children that part.
“Grandpa Oliver stopped me from making a very terrible mistake. It was wrong of me to try and get revenge for my hurt feelings.”
“So, is that when he arrested you?” Elizabeth always got to the point quickly.
“He really didn’t arrest me. He just threatened to. He let me tell my story and he let me cry and rant. He bought me a soda and we had a wonderful evening just talking. We’ve been together ever since.”
Adeline sat back and wondered if she could get away with that being the end of the story. The children’s reactions were typical for their age and sex: Elizabeth pretended to swoon, Anne made a declaration, “Boys are not to be trusted!” And Stuart was all curled up in a ball with his thumb firmly embedded between his lips. He made the cutest little sucking noises that for a moment everyone concentrated on.
The moment was shattered when the front door was opened by the one person they had all been thinking about. His booming voice roused even sleeping Stuart.
“And what are you all doing out here?” His smile belied his apparently harsh words.
Stuart merely sat up and rubbed his eyes but the two girls attached themselves to their Grandfather’s open arms.
“Oh, Grandpa, you arrested Grandma! Did you frisk her?”
“Did you throw her in the clink Grandpa? Does she have an arrest record?”
Oliver looked at Adeline over the top of children’s heads. He raised an eyebrow. She quickly shook her head, blushed and looked down. Oliver nodded his head and heaved a sigh of relief.
“I think it’s time all three of you were in washing your hands for dinner. Otherwise I’m going to have to arrest you and put you in the shed without your supper!” Oliver smiled as he said the words. No one believed his threats but all three immediately jumped up and ran into the house.
“You didn’t tell the whole truth did you my love?”
“Oliver there are some things that are no one else’s business. Besides I think I would like to be arrested tonight. Are you up for it? I could meet you later in the shed?”
The two old friends sat side-by-side holding hands. Forty-three years of marriage had not dulled their sense of fun and mischief.