She was a farm girl. A pretty thing, by all the accounts I've heard and in all the old, faded black and white pictures I've been able to find. Her Papa and Mama were pretty much people of the dirt, the land. Farmed it, lived on it, died on it, and buried in it, too.

She grew up on that rich dark dirt and never did stray too far from that very place she was born. And she stayed a pretty thing, all the way into old age.

He was a farm kid, too. Really not all that many miles down the gravel road and around a few cornfield corners from her. Stories I've heard tell that he had a bit of wild streak runnin' through him, maybe just a touch of the devil dancing on his skin, but a good kid for the most part.

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He left that place, that dirt, that farm for a bit and went off to a faraway place. He did some things there he didn't care to talk about much, did some things he didn't share with hardly anybody. Not bad things, mind you, just things he had to do. And he didn't want to talk about it.

As for her, she stayed close to home, worked for a living, and lived life the best and most honest way she knew how.

And when he came back, he met her...and she met him. Neither one could ever recall exactly how they met or where or why. They just did.

And they married.

Nothing spectacular here. They had some really good times and went through some times that weren't very good at all. Loved ones lost, loved ones gained and cherished. Close friends and family, they worked with, played with, worshiped with, and laughed and cried with. They drank coffee, ate hot dishes, and had reunions. Bean bags and horseshoes and old stories lied about.

They've all left now, gone to God and time.

And yet their love story lives on, all those decades here and now into the forever after.

He might have been born in 1820 or 1920, 1850 or 1950, or any other year. She may have been a little younger or a little older. They may have left the Earth a hundred years ago, or ten years ago, or just last week. Maybe they didn't live on the dirt. maybe they lived on a coast or in a city, on the side of a mountain or down in a green, lush valley, perhaps down south or back east or out west. It doesn't matter, the story is the same.

And I'll bet wherever they are, they still hold each other all the time. Hold each other up and hold each other close. They don't try to. They just do.

They are the American love story. They lived down the road from you. Maybe down the street. They might have been your uncle and aunt, your grandpa and grandma. But whoever they were, you knew them. And how blessed you are that you did.

Standing in Three States at One Time