The Fourth of July

"The dogs jumped and barked in the yard;

The kids rolled and laughed on the freshly cut grass.

The sun shined so beautifully as it prepared to become one with the lake;

The sweet aroma from the neighbors yard crossed the gate and into their yard.

It was a common smell that all backyards shared on the fourth of July.

Jubilee rang throughout the neighborhood.

Isolated from all the camaraderie, the pride, the joy, the laughter,

In a room with nothing but a fading plant, an old rusty bed, and a painting that was indecipherable by its owner,

a woman lay crying.

She held the painting against her chest like she hadheld her daughter on that day that we're not suppose to talk about. The painting was given to her along with a Bible by her husband the night before he left for the war.

She held on to the painting tight enough to get comfort from it but gently enough not to break it.

As the clock struck six, the same time they told her that her husband wasn't coming back the night before, the neighbors started playing "God Bless America" so loud that she could not hear her own cries.

At the same time she realized that no one would ever hear her cries, she found a note attached to the back of the painting.

The note was from her husband.

She quickly opened it and read it through her tears,

"Hey honey, isn't this a great painting? I bought it from Mrs. Mort."

She looked at the painting again but this time through enlightened eyes.

It was a woman crying on a tomb,

And on the tomb-stone was engraved "In loving memory of Peter Mort."

She looked to the bottom of the painting and saw the name of the painter.

It was Ellen Mort."