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Coming of Age Romance Sad

She walks through the room in silence, yet she’s never silent. There is a liveliness to her, a lightening of the room, a lifting of the spirit that stays long after she’s gone. Madison is almost perfect. Unfortunately, she has bad taste in men; she married me.

She likes that joke less than I do but she smiles and kisses me anyway.

“Why is there a bottle of champagne on the table?”

I ask this merely for information. I admit that Maddie sees more than I do. Always has. The champagne on the table is evidence that whatever is going to happen today will involve the liquid in some important way. Since it’s Maddie’s doing, it will also be surprising.

“Today’s the day we go see your grandparents.”

That’s it. That’s the surprise, unwelcome as it is.

“Really? Today? I don’t – “

“Of course you don’t. Neither do I, but it’s something you need to do.”

“It feels weird.”

“Yes, I imagine it does. Grab the bottle and the glass.”

I gaze at Maddie, unsure of everything right now, but very sure that my wife won’t lead me astray.

I am struck again by her beauty. This sort of thing happens to me almost every day. I see the woman I love, the girl and the woman I’ve known for twenty-three years, but when she’s around me, I see her for the first time. Again and again.

“Today, you’ll do all the talking. I’ll be there for you, but I’m not saying anything.”

I smile and turn to my wife.

“That’s a change.”

She nods, not offended at all.

“Yes, I do most of the talking in our relationship. If I didn’t, I would never hear any sparkling conversation.”

I laugh out loud, a little too loudly, probably. She laughs as well, but her laugh sounds like a gathering of angels singing.

“When did that all start? Me doing most of the talking?”

Maddie asks, but she knows the answer. She always knows the answer.

“Remember our wedding day?”

“Of course.”

“That’s when it started.”

Maddie punches me in the arm, but with no oomph behind it. It’s her way of showing affection without being all lovey-dovey. Like I said, she’s almost perfect.

The walk to the two grave sites takes about fifteen minutes. We crest a rise in the land and there they are. Twin headstones bookended by live oaks and about a billion bluebonnets. Maddie put a bench on either side of them last year, but I haven’t been here since the funeral. The benches have been “devoid of human buttockry,” as Maddie says. I don’t think “buttockry” is a word, but I ain’t gonna challenge her on it. Lost way too many Scrabble games to her that way.

“Who – um – who do I talk to first?”

I look to Maddie for guidance. As usual, she doesn’t get mad or roll her eyes when I ask stupid questions.

“Rules of chivalry, dear.”

“What?”

“Ladies first.” She knows it doesn’t matter, but she gives me direction anyway.

I sit down and hold the bottle of champagne, staring at it. The bottle feels strange in my hands, like it doesn’t belong.

“Why champagne? They never drank the stuff.”

Maddie looks off into the distance. She does this when she gets philosophical.

“Your grandparents have champagne souls.”

I look at Maddie but she continues to not look at me.

“I don’t get it.”

Finally, she turns to look at me. She has a soft look in her eyes.

“They may have looked like carbonated water to the world, but if you got to know them like we did, they would have been seen as bright and bubbly. And they always made you feel good.”

I nodded. I would never have thought of that.

“And, if I go before you, I want Merlot at my grave site.”

Maddie smiles that impish smile of hers, the one that makes me go all tingly.

“Sure. Why?”

“Figure it out, sweetie.”

“May take a while.”

“Decades, probably.”

Maddie brushes a leaf off her blouse after this little shot. She’s good at getting in those little shots. It’s like she doesn’t even have to think of ‘em. They just come to her.

“That’s mean.”

“But you’ll think about it, won’t you? Even if it takes all those decades.”

“Yeah.”

True. I don’t give up on a thing just because it stumps me at the time. I got resilience. Maddie calls it stubbornness.

“Decades. Together. You and me and an assortment of cats and dogs and horses and cattle. We’ll fight the good fight, win the unwinnable, eff the ineffable. We might even – “

“Eff the ineffable? That sounds dirty.”

“Says the man who wears an acre of dirt when he comes home.”

“You know what I mean.”

She always knows what I mean. It’s a little irritating at times.

“Indeed I do, dear.”

We sit in silence for a few minutes. I twist the bottle in my hand, but Maddie takes it away from me and sets it between us.

“Hey. What if I go before you?”

Good one, right? Maddie’s smile brightens at my question. Weird.

“Either a cheap rosé or a Lone Star beer, in a can.”

“Cheap stuff?”

I may be a little offended. I’m not sure.

“Honest and true. Unspectacular, which makes it spectacular.”

Maddie says this, but does she mean it? I think she does, but still.

“I don’t buy it.”

I might be buying it.

“You don’t have to. As long as I believe it, it’s true.”

I don’t know how to argue with this. It sounds so wrong, but it also sounds like she means it. Maddie never has been attracted to showy things. That kind of explains why she’s with me.

“So, you’re the expert at grave sites now?”

“Consider me the sommelier for the dead.”

I nod my head, mainly because I don’t know what a summerleer is, and because there’s no way to respond to that. I think Maddie loves me because I know when to shut up. Basically, I keep my teeth together when she talks.

“Ok, buster. Let’s do this thing.”

I nod. Maddie opens the champagne and pours out a glass for me. I drink it. She pours another glass. I drink it. She takes the glass away.

Yep. Now I’m ready.

                                                       **************

“Hi, Grams. Well, I know I should’ve come before now, but it still hurts, you and Pawpaw bein’ gone. Maddie says I need to talk to you guys, let you know how much I miss you, why I love you. All that stuff. I know, you women need to hear reasons why we love you. Ow! Maddie! I’m talkin’ here!

“Anyway. Remember when my parents divorced? They promised that they’d be back and that they’d take care of me, but they wouldn’t be together. Somehow, I knew that was a lie. About them comin’ back to get me. So did you, I think. I saw how sad you were. It was the middle of August, the end of summer. I guess it was also the end of my childhood.

“The thing is, you let me cry. You let me hug you. You’d put your arm around me and not say anything. I didn’t realize it at the time, but you were making the pain go away without being smothering. Just what a ten-year-old boy needed, I think.

“What I didn’t realize until years later was that you had your own heartache in the matter. My mother was your daughter, and I reckon that it tore your heart out to know what she did to me. But you never let that show, at least not to me.

“How did you do it, Grams? How did you take all that pain and hide it so well? You were always bright and cheerful. You had a smile for me all the time. And cookies. And pies and cakes and great birthday parties.

“I told Maddie that maybe this was your way of making up for my mom, but she disagreed, with her tough voice. She said that you loved me extra hard because I needed it. No more, no less. Don’t overthink love, she says.

“You remember the first time you met Maddie? She came in, half-frozen, an almost-dead cat wrapped up in her coat? You and Pawpaw tried to save it, but it was no good. Pawpaw took it outside and shot it. I looked at Maddie to see if she was gonna cry, but she didn’t. That’s when I really noticed her. I never stopped.

“Anyway, I helped Pawpaw bury the cat. I cried some, but Pawpaw didn’t say anything. I was surprised. He never liked what he called ‘unnecessary crying.’  I guess he figured it was okay this time.

“I reckon it all comes down to your heart, Grams. You had a stout one. Never let me go hungry. Never let me feel like I was alone in this world. Never got on to me for missin’ my mom and dad. Never harped on me when I made mistakes. I reckon I saw you in Maddie, and that’s why I married her. Except she thinks I eat too much beef. Hey! Stop pokin’ me!

“Maddie and I had a rough time when you and Pawpaw died last year. I felt like I done lost my anchors in this world, but Maddie bein’ here and all, it made it bearable.

“So, I love you for all those things, but it seems to me I don’t say things right sometimes. What I’m sayin’ is that you didn’t have to love me as much as you did, but you did it anyway. It didn’t seem like a chore to you. Maddie says it added years to your life. I didn’t get that when I was a kid, but I got it after Maddie and I got married. And no, she didn’t have to tell me. I figured it out on my own. Maddie made me smarter about stuff like that. Now she’s smilin’.

“Maddie used to tell me I was the best thing to ever happen to her. I think she’s blushin’ now. Hard to tell, it’s so dad-burned hot out here. If that’s true – and I reckon it is – then I bet my bottom dollar she got a lot of that from you. You know, seein’ what’s in a man’s heart and not necessarily what’s in his words. I stumble over words sometimes. But I don’t want to stumble now, Grams. I can say that Maddie’s the best thing to happen to me after the first best thing to happen to me, and that’s you and Pawpaw. I think I said that right. Maddie’s nodding, so it’s right.

“I don’t want you and Pawpaw to miss me. Or miss Maddie, for that matter. I know you think of her like blood. That’s another thing, Grams. You always treated her like kin. She calls it greatness of soul.

“So, we’ll be here, runnin’ the ranch. The twins’ll be in college next year. Maddie says she’ll be glad to get ‘em outta the house, but I catch her cryin’ in their rooms sometimes. Necessary cryin’, in my opinion. I’ll miss those two little she-devils too. Got their brains from their mamma, I reckon, but their good looks from me. Maddie’s shakin’ her head. I reckon we’ll just have to disagree about that.

“I’m sayin’ adios for now, Grams. I’ll be back soon. You keep Pawpaw company, ok? He wouldn’t rest easy without you beside ‘im.”

                                                      **************

I pour a glass of champagne on Gram’s grave site. Maddie refills the glass and tells me to drink it. I do. She may have to carry me home.

                                                      **************

“Hi Pawpaw. I just talked to Grams. Maddie’s here, too. She ain’t talkin’ right now because she tells me it’s me that needs to talk to you guys. Grams seemed okay with it.

“I thanked Grams for you guys takin’ care of me, so I’m thankin’ you for it. Personally. You and Grams were kinda like the complete package, if you know what I mean. She taught me to be forgiving and you taught me how to do it.

“Remember the first day you took me fishin’? Two days after mom dropped me off at the ranch. What I remember most of all was your hands. They were so rough and scarred, but when you held my hand to take me to the river, it was so gentle. I felt, I guess, peaceful when you held my hand. Like nothin’ bad was ever gonna happen to me again.

“You always took the time to show me how to do things. When I messed up, you showed me again. I really didn’t like you all that much before I came to live with you guys. You always seemed so gruff and mean. But when you were showing me how to rope or ride or fish or a million other things, you had this softness in your voice. Your eyes smiled. Maddie’s nodding right now, so I guess she saw in you what I saw.

“I remember your rules for unnecessary cryin’. Do you remember how I got that long scar on my right arm? Runnin’ around like a idiot and I run into the barbed-wire fence near the north pasture gate. I’m bleedin’ like hell-o and you come up to me and just stand there. I’m cryin’. You just wait it out. Then I finally stop and you take care of my arm.

“That’s when you told me about the rules for cryin’. Don’t cry just because you bleed a little. That there’s teachin’ you what you ain’t supposed to do. You can yell and even cuss a little, but you don’t cry. Don’t cry when you kill a chicken that winds up on the dinner table. Don’t cry because Billy Tompkins is pickin’ on you. Did I really cry that much, Pawpaw? I guess I did.

“But that was only part of it. You also told me when it was acceptable to cry. Missin’ people you love. Feelin’ the hurt that other people have. Maddie says you were ‘country smart’ because of that. I reckon you were just plain ol’ smart.

“I remember the first beer I ever drank. You give it to me when I was – what – sixteen or seventeen. Grams didn’t much like it, did she? But you were a wily one, Pawpaw. Give it to me on an empty stomach. I went and chucked it up real fast. I guess you knew what you were doin’ because I don’t drink much. I’ll have a beer or two every week.

“Maddie and her friends drink wine. She’s givin’ me a look, but I seen them ladies with their persimmon wine, sittin’ around a table and talkin’ a mile a minute. What Maddie doesn’t know is that I know she drinks half a glass and just listens to the others complain about their husbands. Now she’s givin’ me a different look.

“I guess what I’m tryin’ to say is that you did all these things for me. You give me a dollar every Sunday to put in the collection plate so I’d feel like I was a part of it all. You didn’t get mad when I whupped Billy Tompkins on the playground for pickin’ on me. And, I guess, the best thing is that you adored Maddie, even when she got pregnant before we were married. Promised us a home and even built on so the twins would have their own rooms.

“So, I reckon the best thing that happened to me was you, Pawpaw. You and Grams had grit, takin’ on a kid at y’all’s age. Maddie tells me it was love, but it was also grit. I hope to be half the man you were, Pawpaw. If I am, I’ll feel like I done right by you and Grams.

“I’m gonna say adios for now. I’ll be back, I promise. Grams is still here beside you, so you two rest easy.”

                                                       **************

I pour a glass of champagne on Pawpaw’s grave and finish off the bottle. There wasn’t much left. I think Maddie may have been sippin’ on it behind my back. I ain’t sayin’ nothin’ to her, though.

                                                       **************

“Lord!” Maddie had her right arm in my left arm. The empty bottle hung from my right hand, and I was twirlin’ it, wonderin’ why it still felt so heavy.

“What?” I turned a little to Maddie, interested in why she was ‘Lord’ing.

“Sometimes I look at my wedding ring, just because it’s there and I feel it. But I don’t pay it any mind. It’s just…there. Always has been, always will be. I think I do the same thing with you, sweetie. I take you for granted sometimes. And then you go and say all those things you said, and I remember why I love you so much.”

“Me too. I mean, you’re always there. I reckon I’m as guilty as you, Maddie.”

“Reckon we oughta change that up a little?”

I look at my wife and I see her again, for the first time. That girl. That half-frozen girl tryin’ to save a cat that can’t be saved. But this time, she has tears in her eyes.

Maddie’s lips taste salty, but they crush into my lips, just like when we kissed the first time. I’m better at it now. The kissin’, I mean.

I give her a hug, take her hand, and we walk to the house without speaking. I never mention her crying.

Necessary tears, I reckon.

September 08, 2023 16:52

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34 comments

L J
17:26 Sep 08, 2023

need...kleenex...now..Delbert, this is one of your besties! I could picture the characters and the history the "boy" had gone through. This is wonderful, loving and poignant. You nailed this! Good luck in the competition Just an FYI: there may be a typo "even built on..(one?)" Thank you for taking time to read my entry: your comments gave me confidence!

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Delbert Griffith
18:06 Sep 08, 2023

Wow, thanks so much for the kind words, and also for catching a typo. The damn things sneak in there when I'm not looking! LOL I don't usually do emotional pieces, but a kid forced to grow up too soon was a good opportunity to explore. I'm so pleased that you found it poignant. THAT was my goal, LJ, and I'm so glad it came through for you. Your entry was splendid. You don't need confidence; you just need to write. You're good. Show everyone how good you are, my friend. Again, thank you, my friend. Cheers!

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Amanda Lieser
04:32 Oct 06, 2023

Hi Delbert! This was an extraordinary piece and you packed so much into it! I adored the musings on marriage that you had in the beginning of it, and then how each of the individualized conversations for his grandparents slowly unfurled. You packed in so many beautiful memories and wonderful moments, as well as tough lessons of life to be lived. Finally, the way that you concluded everything by coming back to the narrator’s partner truly was the cherry on top to the story, and provided us with a sense of consistency and unconditional love. N...

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Delbert Griffith
07:08 Oct 06, 2023

Thanks so much, Amanda, for the kind words and the analysis. I really appreciate that you took the time to see deeply into the tale. The sense of consistency and unconditional love was, I think, the whole point of the story, as seen through a generational lens. The kid raised by grandparents is a more modern image of them; he is wise in all the ways that count. The wife is the same. They're made for each other because both understand the value of love. There's an old Chinese saying that goes something like this: relationships (romantic one...

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Yash Parmar
17:25 Sep 28, 2023

Hey, I just wanted to say I love the title you chose for the story and I think it really tied the whole thing together. The Rules for Crying sounds like the title of a coming of age movie haha,

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Delbert Griffith
21:02 Sep 28, 2023

Thanks so much, Yash for the kind words. I really appreciate them. Cheers!

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Susan Catucci
19:27 Sep 14, 2023

Hi Del! Thought I'd drop in for a peek at your latests and greatests. I feel like your stories are special friends I'm already familiar with and I enjoy seeing them out in the world and doing so well on their own (a/k/a being so well received.) This is a special one. I believe it's one of your best, which at this point is quite an accomplishment. Wonderful work.

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Delbert Griffith
09:01 Sep 15, 2023

Wow, thanks so much, Susan. That means a lot to me, especially coming from someone who knows my work so well. It may not win any awards, but it was, as you state, well received. I'm a little surprised and very gratified, for this isn't in my wheelhouse. Thanks to you, though, it was hammered into something good. Your help seems to turn my average tales into something good, my friend. It doesn't go unnoticed, what you do for me. Cheers!

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Michelle Oliver
22:53 Sep 12, 2023

This is beautiful. Such a poignant piece. I love the conversational style, the emotional language from a salt of the earth kind of guy. Necessary tears indeed. Well done, let me get my tissues.

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Delbert Griffith
10:03 Sep 13, 2023

Wow, thanks so much, Michelle. I appreciate the kind words and the analysis. Salt of the earth indeed. This sort of writing isn't in my wheelhouse, but it felt like I needed to write it. The generational thing was important, as was the understated love and commitment. No fireworks - just quiet words and a bottle of champagne. LOL Again, thanks for liking my little tale. It means a lot to me, truly. Cheers!

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Rebecca Miles
19:28 Sep 12, 2023

Del you old romantic. This is slipping into unchartered waters I think for you and you've chartered your course well in this one. I am a complete sucker for beautiful sentimentalism and I think I'd died and gone to heaven when I read Maddie's judgement of the grandparents as haveing "champagne souls." I am going to steal that and have it engraved on my headstone. It is so deliciously Gatsby (I'm a big a fan of Fitzgerald as a Brit can get ,-)) And then you also give as buttockery- from the sublime to the ridiculous; what can get better than ...

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Delbert Griffith
20:02 Sep 12, 2023

Wow, thanks so much for the praise, Rebecca. I really appreciate you taking the time to read and leave such encouraging comments. True, this isn't my wheelhouse. Give me a serial killer and a plot twist and I'll write up a storm! LOL But this felt like it needed to be written. The generational aspect was important to me, as well as the understated love between the pair of spouses. I'm pleased that you liked the "champagne souls" phrase, as well as the word I coined. Buttockry may not make a big splash in American literature, but I think i...

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Nina H
00:31 Sep 11, 2023

What a beautiful story, Del. 🥲 You really showed the love in their marriage, as well as the love the grandparents felt. I liked how you touched on his realization they THEY were hurt too when their daughter left but never showed him. Just beautifully written!!

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Delbert Griffith
10:20 Sep 11, 2023

Wow, thanks so much, Nina. I appreciate the praise and you taking the time to read and comment on my tale. You know, I don't usually do sweet and heartwarming. I'm more of a "give me a serial killer and some dead people" type of writer. LOL However, I felt like this was a story that I needed to write. And thank you for picking up on my favorite part! Yes, the grandparents were hurt, but they loved the boy so much that they didn't show their hurt in front of him. To me, their sacrifice in this area is as poignant as anything else in the ta...

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Nina H
11:11 Sep 11, 2023

Does this mean you have something good and gory up your sleeve for this week’s monster prompt?!? 😃 so far, I’m just coming up butterflies and rainbows. 😂 I need to channel my dark side, but so far no luck!

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Delbert Griffith
12:15 Sep 11, 2023

References to gore, torture, mutilation, etc. Nothing explicit, but I find that alluding to this sort of stuff leaves room for the readers' imaginations. Makes it even worse than the actual description. Rainbows and butterflies. Nothing wrong with that, my friend. If you want dark, turn those beautiful, peaceful images into something threatening. The thunderstorm that comes before the rainbow, so to speak. Good luck, Nina. I always look forward to your tales. Cheers!

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Michał Przywara
21:15 Sep 10, 2023

Very nice, Delbert. It paints a loving marriage, and even though he praises Maddie with words, I think the strength of their relationship would have been clear anyway - the fact she set up this whole trip to the grave site says as much. And it sounds like the grandparents also had a great relationship, so that probably served as a great model for these two - more connections between the generations. It *is* a sad story, but the necessary kind of sad. What else can mourning be? And it's not entirely sad either, as it's filled with happy memo...

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Delbert Griffith
21:19 Sep 10, 2023

Thanks so much, Michal. I appreciate the praise and the terrific analysis, something you do well. Sad and sweet isn't my wheelhouse, but it felt like a tale I needed to write. The generational thing was to show some continuity, and the power of love and respect. Madison and the MC have a terrific relationship, and it's through commitment and respect that it works. Some simple messages that carry powerful results, yes? Again, thank you, my friend. I appreciate it, truly. Cheers!

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Kevin Logue
14:20 Sep 10, 2023

Sweet. Loving. Beautiful. That's just some of the great things I could say about this piece. The opening paragraph is such a draw and the last line of it is a comical flip, very well done. I really enjoyed the short to the point sentences, with the internal narration being slightly different from the spoken, added real character. And speaking of real, his love from Maddie is adorable. I don't know why but I see this piece in the 50's, you haven't suggested anything but I just do. Great, great, great.

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Delbert Griffith
15:19 Sep 10, 2023

Wow, thanks so much, Kevin. Your praise is making my weekend, my friend. I'm so pleased you liked the tale. I don't usually do sweet, loving, or beautiful, but this one felt like it needed to be written. Sometimes a tale just screams that it should be on paper (or a computer screen nowadays). Yeah, it was meant to be in the early 60's, so the 50's would certainly fit. Good observation. Thanks again, Kevin. Your praise is worth more than any shortlist. Truly. Cheers!

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Beth Connor
22:44 Sep 09, 2023

Beautiful and soul touching. It felt like a conversation with a true friend, safe, honest, and heartfelt.

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Delbert Griffith
00:52 Sep 10, 2023

Thanks so much, Beth. I appreciate the kind words, and for taking the time to read and comment on my tale. I put a lot of thought into this one, as well as a lot of revision. It's almost non-fiction, so it reveals a lot about me. Again, thank you, my friend. truly. Cheers!

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Mary Bendickson
21:11 Sep 09, 2023

🏆🏆🏆🏆Trophies all day long for this one, Del. So deep and meaningful and revealing and, yes, heartfelt. Loved 😍 it.

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Delbert Griffith
00:50 Sep 10, 2023

The real trophy is getting comments like yours, Mary. Thanks so much for the kind words and for reading my little tale. I don't usually do heartwarming, so I'm glad I could pull it off well enough to bring forth some emotion. And, yes, the tale is revealing, right? It was a difficult write, but very rewarding. Cheers, my friend!

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Tom Skye
15:32 Sep 09, 2023

This was beautiful Delbert. It was moving in a sad way , but the romantic element sweetened it perfectly at the end. The unspoken familiarity between the two leads really made the story. Amazing work

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Delbert Griffith
16:17 Sep 09, 2023

Thanks so much, Tom, for the kind words and the comments. I'm pleased you liked it because I don't usually do heartwarming. It was a tale that wanted to be written. Cheers!

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Marty B
03:53 Sep 09, 2023

Very heartfelt, from an MC who tries not to show much emotion, but it runs deep inside him. A tough upbringing, however it worked well for him. I liked this idea- “Consider me the sommelier for the dead.” !! Thanks!

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Delbert Griffith
08:45 Sep 09, 2023

Thanks so much, Marty, for the kind words. Heartfelt was my goal, so I'm glad that came through for you, my friend. You got the MC down perfectly. I appreciate the time you took to read my tale, and the wonderful comments. Truly. Cheers!

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AnneMarie Miles
19:14 Sep 08, 2023

I have goosebumps! What a sweet, heartfelt story, and so full of realism, meaning it's convoluted. It's about the grandparents, but it's also about a long and loving marriage. Maddie knows her husband, and they are both so comfortable with each other. Their back-and-forth is ingeniously wonderful. But she knows he has to do this, to say a proper goodbye to his grandparents. And then all of the rest of the story unfolds. I like how it ended up making a point about these rules for crying. Gramps knows what real pain is, and it's not a physical...

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Delbert Griffith
20:03 Sep 08, 2023

Wow, thanks so much, AnneMarie. I really appreciate the kind words and the telling themes that you picked up on. Yes, it's a tale about four people, mainly. When you state that it's so full of realism - meaning it's convoluted - that really struck me as something significant that you saw. It's true, though, isn't it? Most relationships are convoluted. That was a nice catch, my friend. This was s different kind of tale for me. I was really going for poignant - and even heartwarming. You know me well enough to know this isn't my typical styl...

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AnneMarie Miles
20:40 Sep 08, 2023

Life is convoluted! I cried and laughed throughout this whole thing! You accomplished heartwarming, and you did it with such ease. If someone read this who isn't familiar with your work,they wouldn't know it's not your preferred genre. This is a whirling success. And I agree with you, and thank you for kind words. But the best teacher (at least for writing) is reading! And what's neat about this place is we all write so differently, exploring a plethora of genres and styles. It's really pretty phenomenal. Keeping my fingers crossed for t...

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Delbert Griffith
21:22 Sep 08, 2023

You're a real treasure, AnneMarie. Thank you so much for the vote of confidence, and in your estimation of my writing skills. The sentiments are mutual, I assure you. Cheers, my friend!

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Unknown User
09:19 Sep 14, 2023

<removed by user>

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Delbert Griffith
10:12 Sep 14, 2023

Thanks, Joe. I appreciate you reading my little tale and leaving some very nice comments. You're a true gentleman. Yeah, sweet and sad and heartwarming aren't my wheelhouse, but this one felt like it had to be written. The generational aspect of how love is viewed and shown was a big part of my tale, and we get a glimpse of a boy growing up before his time. Thanks again, my friend. Truly. Cheers!

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