The Gingham Dress

The Gingham Dress

The daffodils were blooming now red clover spread over the meadow

The smell of heather filled the air, as she walked she felt some better.

She walked unsteadily  with a cane, from her broken right hip,

Her aging body mended slow it had been two months since she tripped.

In the middle of the meadow she stopped leaning heavily on her cane,

Often her mind wandered and now it was happening again.

She had forgotten something, but what she couldn’t rightly recall,

Well maybe it would come to her, or maybe not at all.

Flowing loose down her back, long snow white hair,

Oh my goodness that was it. She had forgotten to brush it and he would soon be there.

She took a few steps planning to rush back home,

Then tears rolled down her cheeks as she remembered she was all alone.

She pulled a flowered handkerchief from her faded gingham dress,

As she brushed away the tears she remembered it was the one he loved the best.

The color was faded now and there was a rip under the arm,

But it was comfortable to wear when the day was warm.

He bought it for her in ’45 or was it ’46,

Sometimes dates bothered her often her mind played tricks.

Lets see now, the Millers were having a barn raising, and they had helped each day,

That night they were to celebrate, and Coy and his boys were to play.

Such fine fiddle players, and Thad with his violin,

But she really had nothing fit to go in.

Most of her clothes she made from flour sacks, and she even made the dye,

Polk berries and walnut hulls, sometimes she used extra blueberries when she made pies.

She remembered crying because she had wanted to go so bad,

And she took a walk with old blue, one of the best friends she ever had.

John’s feelings would be hurt if she told him of her sorrow,

She decided to pick some blackberries to make a pie for tomorrow.

“Mattie, Mattie,” she heard his voice call her name,

Old blue perked up his ears and went running down the lane.

She dried her tears as best she could he hated to see her cry,

If he noticed she would tell him she had got dust in her eye.

“Oh there you are come I have something for you,”

Such excitement on his face, she asked him what it was but he wouldn’t give her a clue.

“Come on now we don’t want to be late,”

The Miller’s shindig starts at a quarter till eight.”

How did she have the heart to tell him that she couldn’t go?

She had nothing to wear, but she couldn’t hurt him so.

He took her arm in his and let her down the path,

And as they entered the house she noticed he had drawn water for a tub bath.

She couldn’t stop the tears that fell her husband was just too much,

For ten of her best years this was the man she loved.

They had always been poor, though they worked their fingers to the bone,

Somehow it never mattered because he was always the one she could rely on.

Now she felt so selfish after all it was just a one night get together,

But this was the man she loved sworn to be with him forever.

“Why are you crying Mattie? Honey what is wrong?”

“Nothing really John, I just realized no matter what by your side is where I belong.”

“Aww honey let me dry your tears.”

And he gave her a flowered handkerchief she still had after all those years.

“Now come on see what I have for you,”

Arm in arm he led her into the bedroom.

There on the bed lay a gingham dress dyed a forest green,

And in a small jewelry box was a small emerald ring.

It wasn’t a real emerald but really she didn’t care,

But what really caught her eye was a green ribbon for her hair.

A pair of black slippers with a little bow on top,

And she gasped as he showed her a pair of tan nylons.

Gosh what a luxury they were so hard to find,

He had spent so much she was afraid he had lost his mind.

He smiled at her his green eyes alight with pleasure,

For so long he had wanted to give her these simple treasures.

Just to see the emotions he now saw,

He was lucky to have found a job or he couldn’t afford it at all.

“Oh John these things are so beautiful but I can’t,”

He didn’t let her finish before he said, “T.J. over at the saw mill needed an extra man

I got me a good paying job Mattie and tonight you’ll be the belle of the ball,

Tonight is our night we won’t worry about nothing at all.”

Such a glorious time they had dancing underneath the moon,

Why she thought they must have danced to every tune.

When they arrived home that night they loved as never before,

No it wasn’t ’45 or ’46 it was June the 8th 1944.

It all came back to her in a rush and once again tears filled her eyes,

Her John died in the forest June the 8th 1945.

A year from the date of the Miller’s shindig as he had called it,

As they were sawing down an oak tree it swayed just a bit.

A bit was all it took. He couldn’t move fast enough,

And as it fell it landed on the man she loved.

Though it was tradition to wear black to his funeral she wore her gingham dress,

Cause after all that was the one he loved the best.

The daffodils were blooming red clover spread over the meadow,

The smell of heather in the air, and as she walked she felt some better.

Her thoughts were repeating again it was time to go home,

She rubbed arthritic fingers down her gingham dress as she limped along.

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