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Monday, September 19, 2005

Peace Will Find a Way - Part 2 of 2

The afternoon passed quickly. Danny napped as Livy busied herself in the kitchen. She read over the recipe one more time. She stared at the ingredients in her bowl. They looked close enough she thought. Livy had attempted this one before and could manage a simple meatloaf for dinner.

The radio played in the background, but no urgent bulletins as yet. She gave Franklin a wink and dug her hands in to knead the meat mixture. The Andrews Sisters came on with one of her favorites and she sang along “Don’t sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me….anyone else but me…..anyone else but me……no, no, no.” Franklin, ever hopeful, sat by anxiously licking his chops.

Around 3pm the radio station broke in with a special address from President Truman. “Sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima and destroyed its usefulness to the enemy. ………..”

Livy wiped her hands and walked to the front room. She turned up the radio and dropped down to the sofa. The President continued his statement; highlighting this new atomic technology, the magnitude of it’s destruction, and the ultimatum that had been issued to the Japanese leader’s weeks ago. The Secretary of War spoke of an installation down near Santa Fe that helped produce the weaponry.
Livy was stunned and clutched her dishtowel in front of her mouth. “…it destroyed the entire city….” she muttered “…a single bomb”. She closed her eyes and thanked God that He saw fit to give this power to the Allies. How could Japan continue to fight against a weapon so powerful?

She hurried to the phone and called Abby. No answer. She replaced the receiver and returned to the front room.

It seemed like forever before Ray returned home. She ran toward him, bursting with the news.

“Did you hear?” she gasped “An atomic bomb!”

“I know, I know” he replied. He wrapped his arms around her, cradling the back of her head with his hand.

Could it really be true that the end was in sight and peace was just around the corner? They fixed their dinner plates, choosing to eat in front of the radio, riveted on any news from Washington or the Far East.

They talked with amazement about the bomb. It was now clear that civilians, not just Japanese soldiers, had been killed by Japan’s refusal to surrender. Livy wondered what kind of leaders would sacrifice their own women and children. Ray wondered how President Truman had struggled with the enormity of this decision. Taking such a bold action surely required a man of strong conviction. His decision would certainly spare the death and maming of thousands of young American men. He offered up a silent prayer of strength for the president and one for those who had been sacrificed for the sake of war.

The phone rang and Livy sprang from the sofa to answer. It was Abby! They spoke with excitement over Kent’s eminent return. Abby was on cloud nine. The war would be over soon and she would have her husband and her life back. She reported that revelers in Denver were toasting certain victory. Throngs of people roamed the streets whooping and hollering; drinking beers in celebration. Livy was so happy for her sister. Soon families everywhere would be reunited.

The next few days flew by. The radio blared constantly in the house. Livy and Danny made a point to be down by the mailbox on the rural route everyday to meet the postman. He was an abundant source of information and carried news from all around the county. No word yet from Guy’s son, Glenn. All assumed he was on a ship somewhere in the south pacific, but mail was always stalled until they reached port.

News soon came that a second bomb had been dropped on the city of Nagasaki. Japan was reeling from the devastation. Within days the Japanese government announced their intent for unconditional surrender. It was over – it was really, finally, going to be over.

As a matter of routine Livy would ride into La Junta every other Friday to trade books at the library. With events moving so rapidly she was especially anxious to get to town and see the excitement for herself. La Junta was a far cry from the big city bustle of Denver, but as cities went this one was the biggest for miles. Even Ray found it hard to resist all the hoopla and elected to ride along on this trip. He quickly went about his chores that Friday and they headed out after lunch.

They arrived early afternoon and stopped at their favorite café for pie and coffee. The place was buzzing with customers. Everyone was chattering about loved ones finally coming home. Infectious optimism filled their conversations. There was a real sense of gayety in the air. The waitress refilled their coffees and tickled Danny under his chin as she scooted on to the next table.

Ray and Livy found themselves caught up in the whirlwind of excitement. Uncharacteristically, Ray began to share plans to expand the farm. His eyes twinkled as he talked about new tires, taking on new land, and hiring help to maintain the larger farm. He reached across the table and held her hand. Livy was amazed at how much thought he had already put to the plans. His ambitions pleased her very much and she nodded in agreement as he ticked off his list of post-war improvements.

When he finished they were silent for a few moments. She squirmed in her chair considering how she might raise the subject of some family expansion of her own. The words would not come. She opened and shut her mouth so often she feared Ray might think her a lake trout. Oh why did she find this so difficult to say out loud? Instead she raised her coffee in a salutary gesture. They clinked their cups, toasting their future plans.

They made their rounds, visiting the library and a few shops. It was a glorious time and the sidewalks were filled with people. The hours passed quickly and soon it was nearly sunset. With an hour’s drive ahead of them, they reluctantly climbed in the truck to head for home. Ray drove and Livy leaned up next to him. Danny soon nodded off and Livy stretched him out across the seat, resting his head on her lap. They bumped along listening to the wind rush by the open windows. The summer air was warm and the stars lit up the night sky. In just a week’s time the world had changed dramatically. The future, once again, seemed bright. Ray and Livy glanced over at each other and down at their son. They smiled. Their world was a peaceful place filled with joy and laughter.

Franklin woofed as they pulled up the drive. Livy shushed him as she climbed out of the truck, giving him a friendly rub on the head. Ray carried Danny up. He was sleeping soundly, so they simply lay him in his crib as not to wake him. It had been such a wonderful day. Livy went in to wash her face.

The bedroom was dark when she emerged from the bathroom. She tiptoed in and slipped into her nightgown. As her eyes adjusted she could make out Ray’s shape in the bed. She quickly brushed out her hair and crawled between the covers. His long, lean form was warm to her touch. Ray pulled her close. Her skin was soft and smelled like Camay. She ran her hand across his flat stomach and rested her face against his smooth chest. She loved how close he felt here in the darkness.

“Ray”, she whispered “I’ve been thinking……….”

“Uh huh" he whispered back "..... wonder if it’s the same thing I’ve been thinking.”

She grinned at his playfulness. “I guess that depends on what you’re thinking…..” she teased.

“Well..........I’ve been thinking....... that you make a fine mother”

“That's interesting................" she acknowledged slowly ".............because I’ve been thinking that you sure make an awfully good daddy”.
She waited.
He rolled over on his side, his face very close to hers. “So, are you thinking what I’m thinking?” he asked.

“You bet”.

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