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A Memorable Moment

When Country Meets Classy

By Margaret DraperPublished 3 years ago 7 min read

The steady noise of the wood splitter filled the otherwise quiet Autumn morning. Jade stopped for a moment brushing back her long, blond hair while surveying her work. A growing pile of split logs lay ready to be hauled to the shed and stacked for winter. Sometimes being single wasn't all that it was cracked up to be. For a moment, Jade contemplated what it would be like to have someone special in her life. Someone that didn't mind helping and would enjoy doing things with her.

"Mornin' Jade. How's it going?" Jade looked up and smiled to see her elderly retired neighbor, Frank, leaning on the box of her pickup. Jade hit the 'off' button on the splitter with a tired sigh. "Good, Frank. How are you?" "I was wondering if you were heading into town later?" "Yes," Jade replied. " I'm going to run in and get some groceries. Do you need anything?" "Well, if it's not too much trouble, could you grab me a loaf of bread, and a jug of milk? It would be appreciated," Frank said.

Jade smiled, "No problem, Frank." Ever since Frank's wife had passed, Jade made sure to give Frank a hand when she could. "I'll go in this afternoon once I finish here." "Thanks Jade. You're a hard working gal. One day you've got to find yourself a man." This was a point Frank brought up every chance he could. If Jade wasn't sweaty, tired, and covered in sawdust, maybe she'd actually have the energy to consider going on a date? Jade grit her teeth and smiled stoically." "Someday, Frank."

After a shower and a change of clothes, Jade felt better. She was still tired, but washing off the sweat and grime definitely gave her a second wind. "Camo puppy, are you ready to go for a ride?" Camo hadn't been a puppy in a very long time, but the hound's ears came up and his tail started wagging at the mention of a truck ride.

Arriving at the store, Jade groaned to see the parking lot packed. Working long days getting ready for winter she'd completely forgotten that this was the start of the Long Weekend. After maneuvering the pickup in a stall near the back, Jade rolled down the windows for Camo, and headed for the store. Just as she was heading inside, Camo started baying. Turning around quickly to see what was going on, Jade bumped head first into a man coming out of the store. "Lady, do you ever pay attention to where you're going?' Jade's blue eyes flashed with anger and embarrassment. Even after all the accomplishments building up her place, she still remembered the kids cruel taunts from her grade school years. Her attention turned to the angry stranger in front of her. Stray white dog hairs adorned an otherwise immaculate three piece suit. Steel grey eyes glared down at her from a face that could be on the cover of a men's fashion magazine. "Do you have any manners?" Jade retorted angrily. Without even waiting for an answer, Jade stormed off inside to get her groceries.

By the time Jade got home, she'd almost forgotten her run in at the store. The daily grind still required attention, no matter what else might be happening. The wood box needed filling, Camo was eyeing his empty food dish, and Jade still had to run over to Frank's with his groceries.

Just as Jade got back from Frank's, the phone rang. "Hello?" Jade answered. "Oh, hi Jade, how are you doing?" a cheery voice responded. Jade thought for a moment, and then recognized the voice as Maria Struthers. Maria was in charge of the tent city for the homeless. "Do you have firewood for sale this year?" "I have some left, Maria, how much are you looking for?" "A couple cords should do nicely. The city officials will be shutting us down for winter, so we're only going to be here for a bit longer." "No problem, Maria. Will tomorrow afternoon work?" "Sounds good, Jade. I'll see you then." Jade hung up the phone and groaned. She was really looking forward to a slow day around the cabin. Oh well, the truck needed tires, and a sale to Maria would take care of that problem.

Mark Dixon hung up the phone and wearily rubbed his eyes. Between the Pandemic and the failing state of the economy, there were more homeless in the tent city shelter than ever before. Unfortunately, even though the number of people needing help was rising, the city was adamant that the budget should remain the same. Mark's thoughts wandered back to the beautiful woman from the day before. He had meant to apologize for his harsh words. Long hours of stressful work tended to make him more abrupt than he was normally. Unfortunately, before he had the chance to say anything, she was gone. He smiled ruefully as he made a note to pick up his suit from the cleaner's. Being spokesperson, he could hardly make public appearances covered in dog hair.

Stifling a yawn, Jade pulled up to Maria's office and shut off the truck. A day off would have been welcome, but this sale would definitely help financially. Jade hopped out and headed inside. Seeing Maria's door ajar, she lightly tapped and stepped inside. "Hi Maria, how are..." Mark looked up from his desk, and their eyes met. Jade's widened with surprise.

Mark couldn't have been more astonished if the President himself had appeared in front of him. Not wanting to get off on the wrong foot twice with this beauty, Mark took the initiative. "Hey, I'm really sorry about the other day. Just because I've been working crazy hours, is no excuse to take it out on you. I wanted to say something yesterday, but you were gone. My name is Mark Dixon," as Mark held out his hand. Jade recovered her composure and shook Mark's hand. "I'm Jade. I'm sorry I was so short with you too. Is Maria here? I have her wood for her." "Maria's in a meeting and I'm filling in for her until she gets back." "Oh, ok," Jade answered. Shall I unload in the usual spot?" "For sure, but I'll get one of the guys to give you a hand unloading," Mark said. Jade smiled brightly. "Thanks, Mark. It's appreciated."

When she was finished, Jade stopped by the office to pick up payment for the wood. As Mark handed her a cheque, his eyes met Jade's. "This might be too bold of me, but can I interest you in dinner tomorrow night? I know the best French café. They do an excellent beef roast." Jade hesitated for a moment. Mark seemed sincere, but everything was happening so quickly. "Alright, I'd love to," Jade said. Truth was Jade couldn't remember the last time she'd taken an evening off just to completely relax. "Excellent," Mark replied. "Here's my card. Give me a call tomorrow, and I'll give you directions." "Sounds good," Jade answered.

Jade nervously eyed her appearance in the mirror. It had been a long time since she had gone out for the evening. Satisfied with her new sweater and her makeup, Jade scrutinized her hair. Long, blond, curls tumbled about rebelliously no matter what she tried to do. Finally, Jade remembered the new cowboy hat she'd gotten for Christmas, but never had an opportunity to wear. Putting it on, she looked in the mirror once more. Convinced that she could do no more to get ready, Jade grabbed her keys and headed out the door.

Mark couldn't believe his eyes as he watched Jade walk into the restaurant. He was already convinced that she was a beautiful woman, but seeing her dressed up took his breath away. Mark stood up to pull out Jade's chair. "Thank you," Jade said as she sat down. Her eyes took in the table in front of her. Candlelight glistened off two casual dinner settings, complete with an arrangement of fresh flowers. "May I?" Mark asked. Jade nodded as he popped the cork and poured a glass of Merlot for each of them. Jade copied Mark's movements as he swirled the wine and help it up to the light. "Here's to the start of a beautiful friendship with a beautiful lady." Jade smiled warmly. "I'll drink to that."


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