Sunday, April 3, 2011

Love Changes Everything

     The daylight ebbed and the late autumn darkness greeted me at every turn. Dear Sir and I continued to email and call daily. We hungered for knowledge of each other, and with every conversation our feelings grew deeper...

From: Jaqueline Almdale
To: Les Biggs
Subject: Hope the repairs are going well
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2010 7:38 AM (3:38 PM in England)
     This is just a quick note on my way to work, to let you know I’m thinking of you. I hope the boat repairs are going off without a hitch. 
     Jesse is bringing the boys down today at 4:30 pm and they are staying the weekend with me. I’ll return them to Fairfield on Sunday afternoon.
     Although yesterday was a national holiday (Veteran's Day) I worked for 6 hours to accrue a bit of comp time so I can leave an hour early today.
I miss you more than words can convey, and I love you with all my brim heart, 

     "I love you with all my brim heart..." this is a family saying originated by Jesseca, my favorite oldest daughter, when she was two years old. It was another dark, cold night very long ago. Freshly bathed and lotioned, Jesse was cuddling between me and her daddy on the couch as we watched TV.
     A commercial came on for Brim instant coffee, and the spokesman said to the lady pouring out coffee into his cup, "Fill it to the rim with Brim." 
     Jesse pulled at my shirt sleeve. Brown eyes filled with affection, she climbed to her knees and declared "Mama, I love you with all my brim heart." She placed her chubby little hands on each of my cheeks and pressed her nose to mine.
Jesse age 2, 1981
          It was one of those existential moments when time slows down to a crawl because something so incredible has occurred that one becomes hyper aware of every thing: the soft, sweet smell of my daughter's lotioned hands warm on each of my cheeks as she looked into my eyes with complete love and trust; the pounding of my heart bursting with amazement over Jesse's intelligence and ability to reach such a deeply insightful conclusion on her own in the brief time it took a commercial to air; gratitude welling up inside me that her soul chose me to be her mother; shock that my body produced such a wondrous human being. "I love you with all my brim heart" is an emphatic declaration from a heart completely filled to the very brim with love.

From: Les Biggs
To: Jaqueline Almdale
Subject: Hope the repairs are going well
Date: Fri 11/12/2010 9:22 PM (1:22 PM in Pullman)
Darling Jaq,
      Repairs completed at 3.30pm Friday and have now moved a short distance to Newbold.
      Wow! the boys for the w`end sounds great, wish i were there to join in the fun i know you`ll have.
      I will phone on Saturday but if you go out with the boys don't worry as you must make the most of their stay.
     Love you so much, miss you loads.

From: Jaqueline Almdale
To: Les Biggs
Subject: Hope the repairs are going well
Date: Sat 11/13/2010 3:49 AM (11:49 AM in England) 
Hello love,
     It is 3:42 am here. The boys are fast asleep and Wee Man woke me up so he could go hunting. Writing, as I think if it, is the stolen profession—one having to grab for bits and pieces of time in between the other stuff of life.
     I am relieved to hear the repairs to the boat are done and she’s in good stead now. 
     Wish you were here too with me and the boys. I think that often as I go throughout my every day… not that I do anything spectacularly fascinating. It’s just now whatever I do, I want to do it with you. And I wish I were also there with you, on the boat, in Newbold, rain or shine.
Missing you Les, and I love you too. 

     I immersed myself in time with my grandsons. It is such a privilege to have the love and trust of children. After a weekend spent making bread and snow ice cream, laughing and cuddling, watching movies and enjoying leisurely breakfasts of poached egg on toast with mugs of good British tea, reading Olivia, and How Olivia Saved the Circus, and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle's Farm, I finally returned them to Fairfield. 
     After dinner with my family, I drove home through the cold, black night. A huge wind storm pushed the car all over the road. Wind raged at the doors and whistled at the windows as I lit the pellet stove and made a cup of brandied hot cocoa. Wee Man jumped to my shoulder as I turned on the desk lamp in my office and checked my emails.

From: Les Biggs
To: Jaqueline Almdale
Subject: Just in the Mood
Date: Sun 11/14/2010 6:11 PM (10:11 AM in Pullman)
Attachment: WAV file: Love Changes Everything
who loves you baby
     ??? Attached to this brief, cryptic email was a WAV file. Clicking on it opened Windows Media Player and music issued forth with a flourish of trumpets. A powerful tenor voice sang, "Love, love changes everything, hands and faces, earth and sky. Love, love changes everything; how you live and how you, can make the summer fly, or a night seem like a lifetime. Yes love, love change everything; how I tremble at your name. Nothing in the world will ever be the same..."

I emailed Les back with a WAV file of my own:
From: Jaqueline Almdale
To: Les Biggs
Subject: RE: Just in the Mood
Attachment: WAV file: Ocean Sized Love
Date: Mon 11/15/2010 12:57 AM (Tues 8:57 AM in England)
     Ahhh, who knew you could send real hugs and kisses via the Internet?? you did!

     While I was still reeling from the absolute beauty of Andrew Lloyd Webber's music, another email appeared in my inbox with another WAV file attached:
From: Les Biggs
To: Jaqueline Almdale
Subject: Still in the Mood
Attachment: WAV file: Have I Told You Lately
Date: Sun 11/14/2010 6:57 PM (10:57 AM in Pullman)
     It was Rod Stewart singing, "Have I told you lately that I love you. Have I told you that there is no one else above you. You fill my heart with gladness, take away all my sadness; ease my troubles that's what you do..."  

     Completely undone, I sobbed into my hands, wasting nearly a half box of Kleenex blowing my nose and wiping at my eyes. I have NEVER been courted like this, NEVER been made to feel so special--loved so much--before in my life--EVER. I have never been anyone's baby before. I responded immediately:
From: Jaqueline Almdale
To: Les Biggs
Subject: RE: Still in the Mood
Date: Mon 11/15/2010 12:57 AM (Tues 8:57 AM in England)
Attached: WAV file: Aretha Franklin

     Later in the week after our phone conversation was summarily cut off by a particularly brutal thunder and lightening storm over the Palouse, I emailed Dear Sir another WAV file:
From: Jaqueline Almdale
To: Les Biggs
Subject: Stormy weather
Date: Wed 11/17/2010 12:34 AM (8:34 AM in England)
Attached: WAVE file: Vanilla Twilight
My darling Les,
     As I sit here writing I am of course thinking of you. It was lovely to chat although briefly on the phone last night/this morning. The storm was really severe. As I rang off with you that last time, the phone made a weird buzzing sound and went totally dead. About 60 people a year in the U.S. are killed by lightening strikes and one of those deaths occurs while talking on a land line phone. When the next lightening strike occurred all the phones in the house rang twice and then fell silent and there was no service even this morning when I left for work. It’s back now.
     The electric/heat/water didn’t come back on until 7:45 a.m. My neighbor lost part of his roof and another neighbor lost the skirting on his mobile home. 
     Driving into town, I was stopped at the first stop light as a very tall spruce tree had broken off and fallen all the way across the intersection. I had to wait for forty minutes while a road crew sawed it up and hauled it away. 
     The same thing happened all over campus. My usual route to work was blocked off by a giant fir tree which was totally uprooted and fell over across B street, crushing several cars. There were crews all over town clearing roads, insurance folks out looking at structural damage to peoples’ homes from fallen trees.
     I had never heard the song “Love Changes Everything,” or Rod Stewart’s version of “Have I told You Lately that I Love you.” I sat here at my computer with tears running down my cheeks. My heart was so full—and still is. Have I told you lately how amazed I still am that you love me and how grateful I am at our incredible good fortune that we found each other?
     I am making arrangements to keep busy through the holidays; life seems brighter and dimmer sometimes when I am experiencing something—even little insignificant things, because my first thought is, “I wish Les and I were sharing this.” Truly, the last thought I have before I fall asleep is of you, and my very first conscious thought when I awake is too.
     I am almost finished with Post #4—folks at work were clamoring for another one today. I worked on it last night before I called you and I am going to finish up now and post it.
All my love,

From: Les Biggs
To: Jaqueline Almdale
Subject: Thinking of you
Date: Wed 11/17/2010 4:48 PM (8:48 AM in Pullman)
Attached: WAV file: For the First Time
 Hello my lovely,
     Just sorting some music for the next CD Video for you and come across this one attached. It could be me saying it about the Tues/Wed of my visit.
     I really liked that song you sent me last. It's just how I feel about missing you. 
     Storms look to have been bad, so glad you are OK. Will phone you your time around 7pm Wednesday.
Love and hugs

 From: Jaqueline Almdale
To: Les Biggs
Subject: RE: Still in the Mood
Date: Wed 11/17/2010 6:23 PM (Thurs 2:23 AM in England)
Attached: WAV file: The Very Thought of You
     Oh Les—how blessed I am in your love. Still, I must pinch myself sometimes to believe this is all real, and happening to me!
     I am home early because North West Energy Efficiency Corporation were here checking the heating & cooling duct system under the house and all the vents. For leaks. They just left.
     The song attached is from the CD It Had to Be You: American Songbook. This is how I feel every time I think of you. 
     Do you realize we are creating the soundtrack for the movie that will eventually be made from this blog?! (Meryl Streep will play me and Robson Green will play you!) I am writing it, and it is my story at the start—but I think of it as our story--and your comments add your unique signature to things and of course, add to our story.
I love you with all my brim heart,

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