The Love Story of Floyd and Fannie Mae (Chapter 3/3)0
This is a story about 2 ordinary people and an extraordinary love. Their names were Floyd and Fannie Mae and yes, they were real people. I knew them both and I knew them both when they were in their eighties and their nineties. Parts of this story have been reconstructed, as naturally I was not there for their entire lives. Parts of the story weave in the lives of my own grandparents. So to that end, the Fannie Mae and Floyd here are fictional.
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Fannie Mae never doubted her love for Floyd and there was no need to say cruel words or even to imply them.
She simply wrote back seven words on one small sheet of paper, “I’ll be here when you get home.”
When Floyd got the letter and opened it up his heart was so large and in his throat that he couldn’t even speak. Tears streamed down his face
And Floyd packed his belongings, and he left that very evening to go home to Virginia. Home to Fannie Mae
He found Fannie Mae and with her, – her smile and her arms and her eyes
And Floyd vowed to never leave Fannie again
And he never did… not even in his mind.
Soon there were children, and then grandchildren, and Floyd had settled into the life of a farmer. He realized he was quite good at it. Throughout the ’40s and the ’50s and the ’60s Floyd and Fannie Mae built a beautiful life together. There were children, and then grandchildren, and then great-grandchildren. Fannie Mae had turned the old farmhouse into a beautiful and loving home. Floyd entertained them all from time to time with his poems, and his stories, and his fiddle playing. The years came and went in such a hurry. One day Floyd found himself a very old man in 1989.
He woke up that morning early as he was often found doing. He got out of the bed and he walked over to the window. He looked out onto the corn fields that spanned in all directions that he could see. The corn had been harvested by the combine, and what was left and had been missed was standing in the corner of the field. One stalk of corn stood there, and wrapped around it was a morning glory vine. On that November morning, a mist began to fall. Floyd thought that there’s a cycle to farming, and there’s a cycle to life.
You see, the stalk of corn that was standing in the field would soon be beaten down by the cold November rains, but the seed, the seed in the corn would fall to the ground and it would look to some as if it had died, but from it the next spring would be new shoots, and a new stalk of corn, and a new life. Floyd thought of his life with Fannie Mae, the wonderful years they had had together, and the children, and the grandchildren, and now the great-grandchildren. As he looked at that stalk of corn he thought, “That stalk of corn is like me. It’s old, and it’s bent, and it’s tattered all around the edges, and it’s gray,” but wrapped around that stalk of corn was a morning glory vine. He thought, “That morning glory vine is like Fannie Mae. Our lives – our very lives are intertwined.”
At this point he couldn’t tell whether the stalk of corn was holding up the morning glory vine, or whether the morning glory vine was holding the stalk together, but there they stood, the 2 of them. Just like him and Fannie Mae. He reached into the desk drawer that was there in front of the window. He sat down, taking a piece of paper and a pencil, and he wrote what would be the last poem Floyd would ever write. You see, Fannie Mae had grown weak. Her memories weren’t as sharp as they used to be. He himself felt like he was in the November of life, and that the November mist was falling over him and Fannie Mae too. But what a good and wonderful life it had been.
So he wrote, as Floyd has always written.
There’s a gloom comes o’er this field of grain called November mist,
When hope is drowned in the rain and death is all but kissed
The stem grows weak, the stalk goes faint,
And confusion makes her bed,
Where memory used to paint
Her murals, deep and red.
He folded the paper neatly, put it in the desk drawer, put the pencil inside the drawer, and closed it. He got up and he walked over to the bed. There lay Fannie Mae, the wife of all these years, the music of his heart, and he smiled. She looked to him as beautiful as she ever had, as beautiful as she looked that day sitting in the church in 1916, with the colored light from the stained glass windows painting her hair painting her skin
He lay down in the bed beside her. He took her hand in his right hand and with the left, he pulled the covers up tight around his neck, and he thought, “How good is life and how blessed I have been.”
He lay there beside Fannie Mae and he waited for the November rains to come.
That’s the story of Floyd and Fannie Mae.
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