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Authors: Jackina Stark

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Things Worth Remembering

BOOK: Things Worth Remembering
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Things Worth Remembering
Copyright © 2009
Jackina Stark

Cover design by Andrea Gjeldum

Unless otherwise identified, Scripture quotations are from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION.
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

Published by Bethany House Publishers
11400 Hampshire Avenue South
Bloomington, Minnesota 55438

Bethany House Publishers is a division of
Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Printed in the United States of America

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Stark, Jackina.
      Things worth remembering / Jackina Stark.
           p. cm.
      ISBN 978–0–7642–0711–2 (pbk.)
      1. Mothers and daughters—Fiction. I. Title.

      PS3619.T3736T48       2009


For my daughters, Stacey and Leanne.
You delight your dad and me.
You are our beloveds.




































I finish emptying the dishwasher and snap the door into place, contemplating only one glorious thought: The third Monday of July has finally arrived. For months now, that date has been circled on the colorful rooster calendar hanging in the laundry room. I’ve anticipated it almost as much as I’ve anticipated next Saturday, the day our only child is to be married.

Maisey and our future son-in-law should be here by six, ready to sit around the kitchen table, enjoying good food and the rest that comes from being in the presence of those we love.

I’m setting veggies on the counter when Luke, most helpful of husbands, comes in with the lettuce I forgot when I bought out the store this morning. He’s talking on his cell phone but manages a smile as he hands me the plastic sack.

Is that sympathy I see in his warm brown eyes?

My heart braces itself.

“Well, be safe,” he says, “and we’ll just see you when you get here, then.”

He disconnects and shoves his phone into his pocket. “Best laid plans. They’re getting a late start. Apparently Maisey didn’t get away from work as soon as she intended.”

“I didn’t think she was going in today.”

“Something came up, I guess. I doubt they’ll be here before ten.”

I gather the little troop of green onions, carrots, radishes, celery, and tomatoes that I’ve just deposited on the counter and return them to the refrigerator. “We can save the salad for tomorrow,” I say. “The pie’s made; maybe they’ll want a snack when they get here.”

How’s that for a semblance of cheerful acceptance?

Luke smiles again as though he has read my mind.

As a rule, I’ve become pretty good at acceptance—it’s called self-preservation. It’s also an answer to one of my frequently borrowed prayers: “Help me accept the things I cannot change.” Despite the fact that Niebuhr’s entire Serenity Prayer is hanging on my bedroom wall, I’m not sure I’ll be able to attain acceptance on such short notice, not this particular afternoon.

Luke has bounced back nicely, though. He says the delay will give him time to clean up his desk properly, and before I’ve shut the refrigerator door, he’s heading for his home office. I have things to do too, good things, but I’m just not very eager to do them—I’m in a fixing-a-family-dinner mode.

Well, regroup, Kendy

Two hours later I have done just that. When Luke comes into our bedroom, where I’m stretched out on the chaise longue, I have
read five of the children’s books from the stack I’m reviewing before school starts and finished next week’s Bible study lesson.

“Done,” he says.

“Me too,” I say, putting my Bible and workbook on the round table beside the chaise. I love the table, a fantastic find in an out-of-the-way antique shop years ago. It’s a small oak dining room pedestal table, cut down to the right height for my chaise and big enough for all the things I like to have at my disposal when I sit here.

“Scoot,” Luke says, and I make room for him.

He stretches out beside me and pulls me into his arms. This simple act makes acceptance—a translucent thing hovering in the distance—seem slightly more accessible. Or is it a mirage?

“Are you okay?” he asks.

“Actually, I’ve been fairly productive,” I say, sounding more matter-of-fact than I feel.

“That’s good.”

He says we should run into town to get something to eat. I don’t really want to go, but I say okay.

I know he wants to keep me busy. Chances are he’ll find a movie he’s been dying to see.
I’ll say,
have they released
Godfather IV

He pats my shoulder, pleased, no doubt, that he has gotten such an agreeable response from me. “Then we’ll come home,” he says, “spray ourselves with mosquito repellant, and wait on the porch for the kids.”

“Good plan,” I say, and then I kiss him—a long, ten-second kiss—because he has come to rescue me.


I put down my briefcase and the sackful of best wishes so that I can rummage in my purse for the keys to the front door. Before I can find them, the door flies open. The cause, I’m happy to see, is not magic or mayhem but Marcus.

“Well, my goodness, you’re here already,” I say.

He grabs my briefcase and steps back to let me in.

“I thought I was supposed to call you when I got home,” I say, giving him a quick kiss.

“You took too long. I decided to come on over and find a place for the stuff I picked up while we were at my parents’. Dad and I spent most of Saturday in the garage. If you had come out there at almost any given time, you would have heard me saying, ‘You don’t need this, do you?’ ”

“And I
have come out there if your mother hadn’t kept me busy most of the day copying your favorite recipes into a little ringed notebook she had proudly labeled
From the
Blair Kitchen
. You haven’t really had a good look at that thing yet. I am truly finding it hard to believe one of your favorite dishes is Yankee Red-Flannel Hash.”

“As a matter of fact, feel free to tear that sucker out of your notebook, but don’t tell Mom.”

“Not to worry.”

“You should have told her to pull up a chair.
have a few recipes
might want.”

Marcus puts my briefcase on the bar and comes over to the sofa, where I’ve plopped with my sack. “What’s that?” he asks.

“This,” I say, holding up the sack with one hand and patting the cushion next to me with the other, “is a great idea. They had a surprise shower for me at work. That’s why Gram asked me what time we were heading to Indiana today. She said she’d like to take me to lunch before we get away. Only lunch wasn’t at her favorite restaurant like I thought it would be; it was in the
room, which amazingly enough, my grandmother can actually reserve. It was a luncheon shower. Wasn’t
a nice surprise?”

“Your grandmother was cutting it close.”

“Well, that’s true, but she wanted two girls who’ve been on vacation to be there.”

“But, Maisey, it’s almost five. The shower couldn’t have lasted that long.”

“True. I ended up writing an article for next month’s newsletter. Someone else was going to do it for me, but I was right there. I had done the research, and I really wanted to do it myself. I called Dad this afternoon. It’s cool.”

I walk into the kitchen to get a bottle of water and some granola bars out of the pantry. “We can eat snacks on the way.” I unscrew the cap and chug half the bottle before I come up for air. “So, guess what’s in the sack.”

“There’s no time for guessing.”

“I’m almost packed,” I say, returning to the couch to pick up the sack.

“Almost! Maisey, we should have left hours ago.”

“I told you. I’ve talked to my parents. It’s no big deal, Marcus.”

He says nothing. Translation—it’s a big deal to him.

Oh brother.

With a huff, I toss the sack on the coffee table and take my terribly tardy self into the master bathroom to collect toiletries to put in my overnight bag. Marcus follows me as far as the bedroom, holding the sack I no longer wish to discuss.

“So, what’s in here?”

“It doesn’t matter,” I say, tossing my hair dryer and straightening iron into the suitcase.

He takes out the tissue paper and looks inside. “Cards?”

I come over and take the sack out of his hand and put it on the dresser. “They’re

“Why are you so ticked?” he asks.

“You’re the one who was ticked. I just wanted to show you what we got at the shower, but you act like not getting to my parents’ house exactly when we planned is the crime of the century.”

I sidestep him and rush into the bathroom, grab the cosmetic bag from the linen closet, and empty the contents of my makeup drawer into it. All the while, I carefully avoid eye contact with Marcus, even though he has followed me and is standing in the doorway.

“Okay,” he says, coming in to stand behind me. I don’t look into the mirror, but I know we are reflected there, his hands rubbing gentle circles on my upper arms, his eyes—the rich brown of Dad’s eyes—penetrating. “What’s going on here?”

He turns me around and waits for me to look at him. I don’t want to, but I do, quite sure he can outwait me.

“I just don’t like you griping at me when I have something neat to tell you.” I go into the bedroom to retrieve the sack, and he follows me. “Look,” I say, “we have at least twelve gift cards or certificates for some of our favorite restaurants. The president of the company even gave us one!”

“You’re kidding.”

“He sent it with Gram.”

I pull out the cards and certificates and spread them on the bed. “Wasn’t this a cool idea? We can have a great date once a month with no hit whatsoever to our budget.”

“That’s very cool,” he says, giving them a quick look. “But we really do need to go.”

I stuff everything back in the sack. “I know.” I point at suitcases standing by the armoire. “You can take those two out. I really am almost ready.”

Marcus takes the suitcases down to the car, and I finish packing the overnight bag and change into something comfortable. Then, wanting everything in its place, I remove the gift cards from the sack I brought them home in, put the sack in a plastic container for such things, and take our future dining dates into the living room and put them in the top drawer of the desk.

“Ready?” Marcus asks when he comes back in. “It wasn’t easy, but I got everything into the trunk.”

I head for the thermostat. “I’ve turned it up already,” he
says, “and I’ve locked the patio door. Everything’s good.”

BOOK: Things Worth Remembering
12.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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