It was an early July evening in Harney county, The summer of 1941 and the day America declared it's independence. It was the month were lots of joy and pride was spread. Evenings warm and romantic. July was the month were small town folk come together and celebrate the Red, White, and Blue. They were the kind of nights that were priceless. Harvey May had taken quite a liking to those warm July nights. She was only 18 that summer and was as gorgeous as ever. The boys in her town drooled over a gal like herself but Harvey May found no interest in them at all. She thought of boys as a ball and chain that could hold her back from accomplishing her dreams. All Harvey really wanted to do was fly away.
Every one was in town tonight. J&Jo's burger restaurant was open all night and the music was playing from the jukebox inside. Laughter from folks lingered all over town. The smells were so divine but surly it was only the smells of greasy burgers and french fries. The smell lured Harvey into J&Jo's restaurant. "Come in, come in my dear." The tall old man from behind the counter said. "Sit please."
So Harvey did and she smiled at Jo, delighted to see her ole friend on a night like tonight.
"What can I get little miss Harvey May." Harvey waited a moment pretending to think but a quick second later she replied "Ooh just the usual." Jo laughed and so did Harvey knowing that she didn't have a "usual" like most did. Harvey instead ordered something different each time she came in. She always wanted to find little things to make herself unique. The last thing she ever wanted was to be just an ordinary sue.
"I will get a chocolate shake with strawberries on top and a large order of french fries on the side please." Jo jumped right to it and her order was out in minutes.
J&Jo's was her favorite place to go out and eat. Every time she entered the restaurant the smell brought her comfort. The wight and black checkered floors, the washed out baby pink walls, and of course her fathers photo hanging on the wall behind the counter. "Happy 4th!'' Harvey said with a cheering smile on her face.
"Thank you Harvey, Happy fourth to you as well." Jo said with content. "How's Marry doing, I heard that she wasn't feeling well." Harvey asked this in concern for her friend. Jo replied with dullness. "She is doing well, much better than last week." Harvey comforted Jo with her words "Well my prayers are with her Jo, everything will be okay."
"Thank you my kind dear." He says as he reaches for her hand squeezing it tightly in gratitude. To enlighten the mood Harvey pulled out a quarter from her purse. "I'll take one song please.'' She said to Jo with a smile. "Anything for you my dear.'' Jo didn't even bother to ask what song she wanted played, he already knew. A jazzy tune comes on and fills the empty restaurant "Ooh Jo!" Harvey shouts. "You did it again!" Harvey jumps from off the bar stool and grabs Jo's hand. "Come on, come on lets dance!"
Jo twirls her around the floor and they both hop, skip and swing to Glenn Miller's song In The Mood. Harvey dances over to the jukebox and turns the volume all the way up, She then hops on over to the restaurant doors and props them both open. Music fills the streets and people gather around the restaurant. Couples start to grab each other and dance and swing in the streets. Children are laughing and playing with sticks, rocks, and toys and such. As Harvey and Jo dance, Harvey speaks "This was his favorite song, ya know."
"I know dear, today we dance in honor of him." Jo says with a slight smile. Harvey smiles back and Jo twirls her around once more. The restaurant suddenly becomes loud and town folk start to flood the room. Harvey and Jo stop dancing and in such excitement they start welcoming folks in. Jo rushes to the back to get more food cooking and Harvey May grabs the menu's from the front counter and seats people.
It is now 6:00 in the evening and the band outside starts to play.
"Oh goodness the parade is about to start!'' Harvey drags Jo outside with her as the restaurant empties. Fancy cars and floats file down the street, the marching band plays and candy is thrown. "Jo isn't this just lovely! Wouldn't father just adore this Jo."
Harvey said. "he sure would." Jo replied in agreement. Soon enough a platoon appears marching to the drummers cadence. They are all young men in army green attire and well fitted uniforms. Then a color Guard following behind them. They hold the colors so high and proud. In amazement Harvey stares at the men so stiffly marching, then at the glorious flag she adores so much. Harvey's eyes then fallow down the flag pole. Holding the flag is a handsome young gentleman. He must only be about 18 or 19 years old. Suddenly, the soldier's eyes break bearing and glances ever so quick. His eyes meet hers. Harvey May looks away as quickly as she possibly could then rolls her eyes. The parade soon ends and folks carry on about the evening. The evening grows dark, nothing but a deep dark blue night sky filled with trillions of stars and a moon ever so bright. Harvey still sits on the bar seat eating her fries she ordered hours ago. "I can get you new fries if you'd like Harvey." Jo offers her.
"Oh no don't bother Jo, It's quite alright." Harvey says with a delighted smile.
"Oh I Insist." Grabbing Harvey's plate, Jo heads to the back and serves her up fresh warm french fries.
"Hello ma'am, Is this seat taken?" A young mature voice comes from beside her. Harvey Jumps. "Oh I am so sorry ma'am, I didn't mean to frighten you." Harvey looks beside her and it's the young soldier from the parade she had seen earlier. "Oh um, uh no worries." Ignoring the young man's question she eats another fry. The soldier repeats himself. "So ma'am is any body seated here?"
"oh no, sorry go ahead." Harvey says, still in shock. "Thank you." He genuinely says.
"Here you go darlin." Jo says setting her plate on the counter in front of her. "And who might this young soldier be." Introducing himself he says. "The name's Johnathan Henry. Nice to meet you Sr." As he shakes Jo's hand. "I am Jo. It's Nice to meet you Johnathan. Thank you so kindly for the sacrifice you serve for this nation." Jo says this with much gratitude. "The pleasure is all mine Sr." Johnathan sincerely says. "What would you like son." Jo asks him. Johnathan orders. "I will have a cherry coke please, Thank you Sr."
"Coming right up!" Jo hurries to the back and starts cooking as he has done all evening.
"Sooo, I didn't catch your name miss?" Johnathan says in question. "Harvey. Nice to meet you." Holding her hand in front of her for a handshake. Johnathan grabs her hand lightly and holds it up to his lips and kisses her hand. "It's nice to meet you as well Harvey." Johnathan say's as he slowly lets down her hand. Harvey paused for a moment in slight shock. Harvey Never met such a Gentleman before. Other than her father Jameson of course. Harvey turns to face her food and soon enough Jo comes out with the cherry coke for Johnathan. "Thank you Sr." Johnathan says again. Johnathan turns to Harvey and asks "So Harvey, do you live here in town?" Harvey replies in slight discomfort of her personal space.
"Actually just right outside of Harney county." Looking at him and then down at her food again. "Very nice, you have a very kind little town." Johnathan says with a charming smile. "Thank you I enjoy this town quite a lot." Harvey says with confidence. "Oh I am sure you do, miss. I would give anything to live in a small town as nice as this one." Johnathan says in delight. "Where are you from Johnathan?" Harvey curiously asks. Johnathan ignores her question and says "Please, call me John." John continues to speak. "Would you like to accompany me outside for the firework show?" Harvey stumbles over her decision but agrees to enjoy the evening with him. Soon enough Harvey finished her fries and John finished his cherry coke.
An announcement came over the town. 5! 4! 3! 2...
"The fireworks are starting now!" Harvey said with a grand smile. "Well lets go!" John said in a childish manner. "Where would you like to sit and watch?" Harvey asks him. "You tell me. I don't really know my way around your town." Johnathan shyly admits. "Well I suppose we can head to the park. It's only a short walk away." Harvey replies to him, finally becoming more comfortable around him. "Alright lets give it a shot." John says.
Harvey observes Johnathan as they sit on a bench in the park. He is charming and very mature but there is a sense of wonder that she can see in him. He has light eyes and darker hair, much rather of a baby face than the other soldiers she saw in the parade. "How old are you John?" Harvey asks. "I am 19. And you Harvey? How old are you?" "I'm old enough" Harvey replies with slight attitude. "Oh I see, well how old is old enough?" John asks her.
Harvey smiles a bit but refuses to tell him her age. "It's none of your business."
Harvey says in such attitude. John smiles but is surprised with her refusal. "Well you mustn't be to much younger than me. Your far to pretty to be a child." Harvey's smile is erased. His words shocked her and she blushes. Harvey is annoyed that the young soldier made her blush. "What, is something wrong?" Johnathan asked. "um no, not at all." She quietly said as she looked to the ground.
BOOM!! BOOM! Crackle. crackle. crackle.
Fireworks start to fill the air. Both John and Harvey look up to the night sky. "wooow!" Harvey says in amazement. "wow is right." John added but John wasn't looking at the fireworks anymore. John was looking at Harvey. For a moment the fireworks stop. The night is quiet and peaceful. "Would you like to dance?" John charms her. "Dance?, sure I suppose but to what music?." Harvey asks in such question. "Sing to me." John says. Harvey laughs and He grabs her hand, pulling her up from the bench and onto the grass. Harvey starts to hum her favorite song.
"Is that Glenn Miller your humming?" John asks. "Yes, actually it is." She replies in surprise. "You have a wonderful taste in music." John says. The night grows late and the breeze gets colder. "That is a lovely dress your wearing but you look very cold. would you like my jacket?" Johnathan asks in genuine concern.
It truly was a nice dress Harvey was wearing. It was red and had 2 white stripes at the rim of the dress. She was wearing a white pearl necklace and pearl earrings as well. Harvey's Hair was long and brunette with bangs curled to the side. Her skin was fair and her eyes were a very warm honey color. Harvey stubbornly said. "No I am fine, Thank you." Not trying to be rude, she often came across that way. Harvey was a very strong willed girl. "Alright but if you do become cold, let me know and you can wear my jacket." John said with humbleness.
Harvey thought in her mind "Oh how rude could I be, But there is no going back now." The night was soon over and so they walked back to J&Jo's. "May I see you again Harvey?" John asked her.
"Maybe." she replied but in fact it was the next day that they saw each other, and the day after that, and even a week after that. Soon enough they had been seeing each other for a month. It was a summer romance at best. Harvey's stubbornness towards boys had faded. Spending time with John had changed her view, for Johnathan didn't want to keep her from her dreams. John wanted to set her free and watch her chase them. They fell in love long before they truly knew that they were in love. John and Harvey became the best of friends. They did most everything together. By the end of the month they had learned a lot about each other. Stories were told and secret places were shared. They were like children only a bit older. The love that they shared was young and inspiring to those watching.
John was on leave for only so long and in the next week John would have to leave again. The next place he was going to be stationed was in Europe to fight in the Operation Torch. A week came very quickly and it was time for the two to say there good byes.
"Will you write me?" Harvey asked. "Of course if only you write me back, that is." Johnathan chuckled but he became serious. "Yes of course John. I want to hear that you are doing alright." Harvey said in slight dis pare. "Write me everyday, Even when you have nothing to write about, you promise?" John said this in a stern voice. Grabbing her on the sides of both her arms.
A tear rolled down Harvey's cheek. "No No, Please don't you cry. I will be fine Harvey May." John says in concern for his best friend. Harvey looks up at John and back down at the ground again. John places his hand on her cheek wiping her tears away. His hand then traces to her chin letting her know it's okay to look at him. John kisses her unexpectedly. Passion over rules the two of them and at this moment in time they both knew that they couldn't live without each other. He was nervous and his knees were shaking. "Carry my kiss with you until I return." John says looking at her innocent face and soft features.
All she could do was say "Please be safe. John you are my best friend. I can not loose you." In return he said "I promise." John boarded the train and that was the last time she saw him.
A year went by, It was soon to be July 4th again. Letters were sent, stories were told and love was confessed. Harvey May's hair had grown longer as did her legs. Harvey was a year more gorgeous and a year more grown up. John's letters were words that were worth millions. Harvey kept all of his letters in a pretty stetson hat box. She wanted to keep them safe. She loved him so dearly. The last letter that she received from John was 3 weeks ago. Harvey May had grown very worried but in her heart she knew that she would be seeing him very shortly, for the parade was only a few short days away. In Johns last letter he said that he would be attending the parade for a second year in a row. It was such a lovely surprise to Harvey. Harvey headed down to J&Jo's to calm her nerves. A busy day awaits them tomorrow.
"You look so grown up Harvey May. He better be making a fine wife out of you." Jo says to Harvey. "Oh Jo, don't get ahead of yourself now." Harvey say's with a grand smile across her face. "Oh but Harvey, look at you. Your father would be so proud." John says this as he grabs her hand and twirls her around. "Thank you Jo, but he is proud of you too. You have kept his dream alive for three years now." Harvey say's with such maturity.
4th of July finally arrived. It was like she was in a move scene that had been replayed before. Harvey was at the same place last year. The same smells were smelt, the same folks and the familiarity of laughter. It was all the same. Harvey enjoyed it that way though. It was her town and she didn't want a single thing to change. It was the exact place she had met the man of her dreams. Johnathan Henry. Harvey entered her Fathers Restaurant J&Jo's. Jo was alone and was dancing in the kitchen to some classy tunes. "Well hello ole friend." Harvey announces over the loud jukebox. Jo jumps in startle.
"Wellll Hellooo miss Harvey May!" Jo says with such a delightful greeting. "You must be so excited to see John Again." Jo adds. "oh yes Jo, I can't wait! I have missed him so dearly. He is coming from such an awful place." Harvey said with a bit of sadness but there was light in the way she had said it. "Wait patiently my dear, and I will get you a shake.... With strawberries on top. It's on me." Jo said with so much love as he gave a slight wink. "Thank you Jo, It will be just like last 4th. Oh what would I do without you." "you wouldn't." Jo said in laughter.
Suddenly outside the shop a voice come over a speaker phone.
"CAN I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, I HAVE AN ANNOUNCEMENT TO MAKE!"
Harvey jumped off of the bar stool as fast as she ever has before and ran out the doors. The marching band had quieted down and the soldiers started to march up the street in silence. Harvey ran down the sidewalk to see if John was in any of the marching platoons. Her heart was racing and she felt like crying in excitement and relief that she will finally be able to see her dear John once again. Harvey didn't see him. She began to worry. She started to shove folks out of the way. This time there were at least 15 Platoons. Harvey had never seen so many soldiers in her life. She ran to each platoon in panic but she was hopeful. Harvey's heart was still racing. She still had no vision of John anywhere. She reached the last two platoons and still, There was no familiar face. Harvey stopped in her tracks. Her hands and legs became numb. Her mind became foggy. Harvey ran back up the street to Jo. "JO! JO! where is he! I can't find him or see him anywhere! Jo I am so worried." Harvey is scared for his life and for her heart.
"LADIES AND GENTLEMEN PLEASE QUIET DOWN. I WOULD LIKE EVERYONE TO LISTEN AND STAND TO SOLUTE THE FLAG. TODAY WE WILL ALL STAND FOR THE NATIONAL ANTHEM IN HONOR OF THE YOUNG MEN WHO HAVE PAST ON IN THE PAST MONTH."
The announcer lists the names.
"ALFRED JAMES B.
ARNOLD JOE DILLARD.
JOHNATHAN MICHEAL HENRY."
Suddenly everything becomes quiet. The noise of the people become blurred. All Harvey can hear is John's name being repeated in her mind. Harvey looked up at Jo and her face was in shock. "what!, What do you mean! ....He is gone?"
In agony Harvey fell to the ground. Tears flooded her face and her palms covered her eyes. Her body ached and sadness overcame her. Harvey would forever be waiting on the Arrival of Jonathan Micheal Henry, And a promise from him that was now broken she could only forgive. That summer she she was found on her living room floor dead. Some say she died of a broken heart but the whiskey on her lips said otherwise.