Welcome to my Earth Day story. It's only a couple of chapters but it is complete and posted here. I realize that not every story is for everyone, but I hope you enjoy reading this one.
Earth Day is a celebration of life on this planet celebrated around the world in over 175 countries. It brings focus to environmental and humanitarian issues on a large scale.
For me Earth Day is every day. No, I'm not a big environmentalist. I'm just an everyday Joe who tries to survive in this world. The reason every day is earth day for me is because I work in a cemetery. I dig the graves, put in the vaults, and after the services, I'm the one who covers the hole.
It might not be the job of choice for most people but it suits me just fine. It gives me balance by helping me survive the problems that surround my marriage and my life.
My name is Joseph Henry. As a veteran I have seen so much killing, lying, pain, and disgust. Before I entered the service I was happy, but when I came home I discovered my wife had cheated on me. That changed me, but I'll get into all that shortly.
We have two beautiful daughters, Julie and Rhonda, whom I love with all my heart. We also have a son, Joseph Jr. There is nothing I wouldn't do for them. The girls are now teenagers but are still my little girls. They both have me tied around their little fingers and I'm sure they know it.
Joey is much younger but he's my little buddy. He loves working with his hands and is a chip off the old block. On days when he's not in school he likes to come with me to the cemetery where he helps plant flowers. He also loves to read the headstones.
Shonda, my wife, and I have been married for fifteen years. We met at a college party she attended. I didn't go to the school but my friends invited me along. She was outgoing with a bubbly personality whereas I had always been the shy and quiet type. I think that's why we hit it off.
She came from money; her dad was a well known attorney. Her goal was to become a lawyer. Back then I worked for my parents' nursery so I knew plants and gardening as far back as I could remember.
Shonda and I became very close, very fast. She was so hot; for me it was love at first sight. She told me she loved me too. Making love with her was great—we were so good together. I couldn't get over how loud and vocal she was when we made love. It was such a turn on how the more I did to her, the louder she got. She loved getting eaten out and I loved doing it to her. And she had no problem reciprocating.
Her dad didn't really care for me. I guess he figured I wasn't good enough for his daughter. But Shonda told me her dad didn't choose her friends, she did.
When I told her I had enlisted in the service she got really mad at me. I tried to explain that by the time she finished getting her law degree I would have my discharge and we could be together. Until then we could write each other and I would call her whenever possible.
After she got over being mad at me we mad passionate love. I even had anal sex with her for the first time. God, I was going to miss her but I thought fighting for my country was the right thing to do.
Basic training began about a month later. I tried to see her as often as I could till then even though it made leaving her that much harder. We spent our last night together having sex every way possible. Yet I honestly had to wonder if she would be waiting for me when I returned.
After basic training I was going overseas for at least a year. I made sure I spent the two weeks off before I left with Shonda.
As soon as she saw me, she had tears in her eyes. "Joe, I have something to tell you."
"What is it honey? Why so sad?" I asked.
"I'm pregnant. We're going to have a baby and I don't know what to do."
I was a bit shocked at first because I thought she was on the pill when we were together. But she mentioned she missed a few every now and then. So we had to decide what to do.
"Let's get married," I told her. "I love you with all my heart and if you feel the same, we'll elope. It won't change anything as far as your schooling goes. I'll see that you're taken care of."
"What about my parents? I have to tell them. They'll see me starting to show in a month or so. I can't hide it."
"Hide it? I want the world to know you're my wife and we're going to have a family. We'll get married and then tell your parents together."
That's exactly what we did. Her dad was extremely mad and said he was going to have it annulled until Shonda told him she was pregnant. Mrs. Rimes put her arms around her daughter to help comfort her, but she gave me a dirty look.
We all talked a little more civil after that. I explained to them I was leaving for overseas in another week but I would take care of Shonda. Her dad kind of snickered. Money was no object to him but I wanted to take care of my responsibilities.
My parents told me I should have waited till I came back home to get married because I hadn't known Shonda very long. I explained I didn't want people to think badly about her. She would be a married woman, pregnant and attending college. They understood what I was trying to say and agreed to do their best to keep in touch with Shonda while I was away.
Saying our goodbyes was really hard for me but I knew I would be with her again. Though I wasn't able to write her in the beginning, a few months later I received a letter from her. She told me all was going well and her parents finally accepted our marriage. Her pregnancy was coming along fine and she was doing well in school. Her friends were surprised when they found out she was both married and pregnant. And she called my parents at least once a week and gave them an update.
We kept in touch by letter and I received one about once a week. In one she told me she had a big surprise for me but I wasn't going to hear it till after her delivery. Without any hints, I had no idea if it had to do with her schooling, pregnancy, or something personal maybe her parents had done.
Several months went by, and one afternoon the captain called me into his office.
"Congratulations, I just received a call and you're the father of twin girls."
Without a word I sat down and cried for joy. That he said twins somehow didn't shock me, although it should have. That must have been the surprise Shonda had for me.
"Use my phone to call your wife. Here's the number; you have a few minutes."
Shonda answered the phone. "Shonda, I love you, baby."
"Joe, it's so good to hear your voice. You have two beautiful daughters who can't wait to see their daddy."
We said as much as we could knowing our time was limited but all too soon I had to hang up. Being in a war zone made it difficult but I called her whenever I had the chance. It cost us a fortune but I didn't care. Another six months passed before I got to see my daughters for the first time. They were so beautiful. Shonda hadn't changed either. She was as attractive as ever. I was one lucky man.
I was thrilled to learn my next assignment was at a base not far from home. There I worked in the agricultural area. I had seen enough killing and war to last a lifetime. It felt so much better to help make things grow. I had almost another year to serve but I was close enough to make it home on holidays and weekends since it was only a three hour drive each way.
Weekends I spent my time with my daughters. I held them and wasn't afraid to change them. I would often lie on the floor and let them crawl all over me. One thing was for sure—I loved being a daddy.
By the time I was discharged Shonda had already graduated from law school and was an apprentice in her dad's firm. I got the job as caretaker of the city's largest cemetery. It might not sound good to anyone else but it paid extremely well. There I took care of the trees and gardens and had a small staff of four men who helped me with the upkeep. I also had the responsibility of digging and closing up the graves.
My work schedule was five days a week and Saturdays if there was a funeral. It was a gated cemetery kept locked at night. I was usually the first one there to open them in the morning though my crew also had keys.
I was always there for my family. Too bad I couldn't say the same for Shonda. Being a young lawyer she had to work long hours including most evenings. I did my best to understand. Thankfully my mother watched the girls while I worked since I didn't want to leave them with strangers.
Shonda tried to spend as much time with me and the kids as she could. She really was a great mom but juggling a career and motherhood was hard on her.
We still made love but most of the time she was tired and I wasn't about to force myself on her. She told me once she passed the bar it would be much easier on all of us. I reassured her I would wait for her. After all, she waited for me while I was in the service.
Life was still good. I loved my job and spent a lot of time with my girls. When it was time for them to start school, Shonda actually took a morning off so we could take the girls to their first day together. I thought to myself, "This is what being a family is all about—being together."
It was short lived because Shonda had to get back to the office. Though she had passed the bar, it didn't seem to get any easier. I still did my best to stand behind her in her career but it wasn't easy. I had my daughters but I wanted my wife too.
.... There is more of this story ...