There they went, two young boys off on a trail leading to adventure, excitement, and the building of forest fortresses and secret castles. Laura Ropsin waved goodbye to her two sons from her front porch. She'd done it many times and would do it for as long as her boys wanted to go exploring. Sometimes she thought of the danger they could get into in the forest, but then she was always reminded of the boundaries she had placed on them. Reassured of the safety of her children, she decided to start making some cookies for when they returned home.

Ms. Ropsin was a sturdy woman, though not only in stature. Her mind was as sharp as a bodkin, her spirit vibrant and unbreakable. Even her husband's death had not shattered her confidence. Laura was always a very beautiful woman, from the time she was 16 until now, a hardy and healthy 42 year old. She stood at a whopping 6' 2" tall, weighed in at a lady-like 146 pounds, and had eyes like the kiss of a summer's breeze. Her hair, though it had begun graying, was a shiny, radiant yellow and always flew behind her perfectly with the slightest wind (something her friends were always jealous of). Yes, Laura Ropsin was a beauty, but not if you asked her. In her mind, Laura was just a mother trying to do the best job, she had eyes only for her children.

She walked through the front door of her house, down the short hall, and into the kitchen via swinging saloon doors. Her home was as welcoming as she herself was. Indeed, she often paralleled herself with it. Though aging, it was a wonderful house, sturdy, but with homely touches like a few good-old creaking floorboards. The house was made nearly entirely of wood, which gave it a wonderful frontier look. Laura walked into the kitchen and sighed with all the memories of the room. From the cut-outs of hearts and flowers above the doors to the wood-paneled walls this room spewed nostalgia for the widowed mother. She felt good and bad memories the same in this room, the affect was to create one massive ball of good feeling. Perhaps that was the reason she loved to cook so much.

As Laura Ropsin started her first batch of cookies she sighed and reminisced of old times long gone by. She remembered the days when her two boys never left the house but constructed their happy little forts under the kitchen table from cardboard blocks. She thought of her sons, the secret source of her strength. Though now they were on to bigger and better things at 10 and 12 she would never miss them. She knew they would always come home to her loving embrace with kisses and perhaps a gift from their day in the woods. Laura remembered stories of laughter as she mixed the various ingredients into the dough of her unmade cookies. She was a woman very fond of reminiscing and perhaps this was one thing that had kept her strong through the years. Her memory never failed to give her a smile and perhaps a tear on these warm sunlit baking days. However, her tears were never of sorrow, they were always of joy. She was completely content to live out her life raising her children as she always had, no matter how much she sometimes missed her husband. Her life was ever filled with joy, and the source of that joy was the love of her God, her children, and her departed lover.

You see, as her children went out to build their forest fortresses and secret castles in the wood behind her house, Laura Ropsin built her own sanctuaries. Her sanctuaries however, were no tangible defenses that could easily be torn down by an enemy or storm. Ms. Ropsin, she built her fortresses in love, she built them in memory. This is the true reason she has been able to stay strong through the years. This is the reason she cannot be lonely even in an empty home. Some may say that memories are hollow and not enough to bring us through, this is completely untrue if you ask Laura Ropsin. For as long as we hang on to love, for as long as we can learn to see past the heartbreaks and the mishaps along the road, we can be happy. As long as we hold on to the God who will truly love us no matter what, we humans with our problems that seem so big, can live on. This is how we ought to live, not in the pain of heartbreak or the petty tears of today, but in impenetrable fortresses of love and memory. If we can manage this, we have nothing to fear. We must strike out to the future with our heads held high but never forget the past that got us there. We must live like Laura Ropsin, continuing day by day to live in love and the peace of knowing that the ones we have loved, never really leave us.