In 1956 Dan was working in a grainery in a small Minnesota town. A gruff old man walked in and demanded of him, “son, carry this 100 lb sack of oats out to my Ford pickup ‘round back. Dan threw the two 50 pound bags on his 18 year old shoulders. His broad, football-fierce shoulders could handle the load without missing a beat. But when he turned the corner and spotted Margaret, the gruff man's daughter, his heart skipped three. His right knee buckled and his left ankle twisted as he stepped carelessly into a pothole he’d stepped over 100 times before. He regained his composure and walked past Margaret’s bright smile and short brown hair.
He knew she had to be in his life at least for this Saturday night. With one shoulder lunge he discarded both gunny sacs. He approached her with buff-boy confidence. “Will you let me take you out Saturday night?” he asked politely. The date turned into two years of dates until one day, he asked her to marry him. She was a year younger than Dan. Her mom and dad, thought she needed a man with more means. So, she left Dan, for a man ten years her senior. Dan married someone else too. Years passed without contact.
He was blessed. He had a good life. A home filled with love, laughter, good food, friends and his children’s children. It was his life. It was a wonderful life. He was a man with two loves and two lives. The one that was lived and the one that was lost.
From time to time, Dan thought of the one that was lost. He wondered if Margaret was okay. He hoped she was happy and that life was good to her. On cool fall nights he walked out his front door and leaned his tired shoulder against the white pillar of his farm house. Acres and acres of golden oats waved in the evening breeze. He recalled the day his broad oat-carrying shoulders introduced him to Margaret. He wondered if she was thinking of him too.
As they grew old, living separate yet spirit-linked lives, the circumstances of their daily existence shifted. In 2007 they found themselves alone again. Now in their 70’s, their spouses had both died. Dan took a second chance on love. He found her. He called her. He asked her once again for her hand in marriage. And this time, Margaret said yes.