Don and Barbara met as freshmen in high school and it was love at first sight. He was a farm boy, she a city girl. He was tall and dark, she was petite and blonde. He had brown eyes, she had green eyes, and they danced to "Young Love" at their senior prom. Then off to college, where their paths began to go down different roads. Barbara, due to her parents' influence, joined a sorority, while Don never had an interest in fraternities. They began to drift apart.
Don's college funding dried up, and since he wanted to serve his country at some point, he joined the U.S. Army.
Four years later, he returned to find Barbara had gotten her degree and married a Naval officer, with her parents' beaming approval. Deciding to take advantage of the G.I. Bill, Don went out of state to a trade school and turned his hobby of tinkering with motors into an automotive degree. He went to work for a large company and thought about his future.
One evening after work, he was in a hurry in the grocery store, and rounded a corner to crash his cart into another shopper's cart.
Judy was a slim brunette with large blue eyes and a shy smile. It was instant attraction. In due time, they married and had a son, Paul.
Man walked on the moon and computers took the place of typewriters. Paul did his parents proud in academics and athletics, graduating with honors. The internet opened up a whole new world, and once out of college, Paul married and eventually presented his parents with three grandchildren.
Judy put on a few pounds, and both had silver strands in their hair. Don used computers at work but neither he nor Judy cared that much about having one, so they didn't have one at home.
Then tragedy struck- Judy was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. For the next year, they clung together through doctor's appointments, hospital stays and pain, always the pain.
In her last days, Judy wanted to stay at home, and during one long night, Don stayed at her side, not sleeping, trying to give her medication and making her comfortable. Just before dawn, he knew she was going. He kissed her forehead, told her he loved her and she slipped quietly away.
The next few weeks and months all seemed to blend together but he was thankful he still worked a few days a week to fill the void, and the grandchildren gave him a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
One evening, after poking listlessly at a frozen dinner prepared in advance by his daughter-in-law, the phone rang. It was Paul, his voice full of excitement. "Dad! A woman named Barbara on Facebook got in touch with me and asked if I was related to you!"
Barbara. Could it behellip;?
They connected and Don found out that she was a widow with a daughter and granddaughter, living 500 miles from him. Their occasional phone calls became once a week, then every few days, each one more lengthy than the one before.
At last report, they were planning a meeting. And how appropriate that it should come about in time for Valentine's Day.
(Editor's note: the above couple are not fictitious, having come from the author's home town, where classmates are eagerly awaiting the outcome of this sunset romance.)