Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Impact of Romance

by Joan Kayse

When you first read my subject title you're probably thinking about the impact of romance writing on the state of the world. And in essence it is, but not from the writing perspective.

Our stories come from within us, creations of our imaginations, our hopes (in my case) or our dreams. But what about the real stories, the ones experienced by real people? The ones that impact a life?

Recently, I had my house painted. The fellow who came to do it was a friend of a friend of a friend. We spent a lot of time chatting while Jay freshened my walls with a whole range of colors and I frantically jumped in to dust behind the furniture :-). We talked about a lot of things, about his children, my writing, the global misunderstanding of country music. A great guy who did a great job.

On day four he received a phone call which he took privately outside. He came back in rather somber looking and went quietly back to work. I continued my reading when from the kitchen he said "That call was about my grandmother. She's dying."

I told him how sorry I was for that and he replied that it was not unexpected but that he was very close to her and you could hear how much he would miss her in his voice. He then told me the story of how his grandparents met.

His grandfather worked as a young man on a farm. One day he was walking back home from a trip to town and decided at the last minute to cut through an adjacent meadow. Just enjoying the day and perhaps hoping to get home just a tad sooner. Along the way he passed by a lake where a large group of people were having a picnic/gathering. There was picnic food, laughter, games and out in the lake he could see some people in small boats. All of them having a good time and you have to wonder if he wasn't wishing he could spend some down time with a bunch of friends. But he had work at home to do and so he continued on his way.

Just as he passed the lake he heard frantic shouts and screams for help. He turned and saw that one of the boats had capsized with two people...two young women....inside. Without a thought, he kicked off his shoes and dove into the lake. The girls were frantic, neither could swim and they were fighting him off in their terror. He knew he would only be able to save one of them and faced with that grim choice caught hold of one and started for shore. He got her there safely and then...must to his surprise and relief....found that the second girl had caught the ankle of the first girl and was also saved.

The second girl became his wife of fifty years.

Jay told the story with such wonder and marvel at the karmic forces that had caused his grandfather to decide at that moment, on that day to cross that meadow and be there to rescue this woman, marry her and build the family that had given him life. He said "I wouldn't be here if not for that."

It was such a gift to have Jay share this story with me. I was touched by it on so many levels and yes...even began to plot out a story based on it :-)

So how has romance touched your life? What stories have you heard that reaffirms your belief in the power of romance?


Aunty Cindy said...

GREAT post Joan!
And yet another example of a subject we've discussed previously here. Story ideas can be found ANYWHERE, even from a friend of a friend painting the walls.

Truth IS stranger than fiction!


Deb Marlowe said...

What a lovely story! Romance really does make the world go around--or at least it makes the ride worthwhile!

Beth said...

I agree with Cindy and Deb -- story ideas are everywhere and romance definitely makes the ride worthwile *g* I love seeing and hearing about true-life romance stories and their happy endings :-)

Thanks for the great post, Joan!

Jill James said...

My parents divorced when I was 10 years old. But, until the day he died, when I was 40 years old, he loved my mother. Looking with hindsight, he called me the week before he passed away, asking for my mom's phone number, but his mind was going and I don't think he wrote it down right, because he never called her, but I believe in my heart, he knew he was going and wanted to say good-bye.

Joan said...


How sweet.

My parents were never demonstrative in front of my brother and I. I knew they loved each other by the way they interacted and they always kissed goodbye or hello or goodnight.

My father was rushed to the hospital in 1993 and very shortly put on a ventilator. I was in the ICU room with my brother and mother and turned away to shed silent tears over seeing my Daddy in this condition.

He was awake though and I heard my mother say "What, Charlie?....I love you too."

Even now, writing this tears are burning my eyes at the sweet poignancy of that moment.

Kirsten said...

Joan, that story gave me goosebumps--definitely something to inspire the next book!

My parents had a dreadful marriage for almost 25 years before they divorced--hard to believe, I know. They were one of those tragic couples that really did love each other, but simply weren't suited. Oddly, I believe deeply in their love, and somehow it can still inspire me.

But at the same time, I'm so glad I learned from their mistakes. Before I got married, I made sure my fiance and I were in love with each other AND fixed to stay that way.

Jo Davis said...

What a beautiful story! It brought tears to my eyes, and reminded me of how my Granny met my Papaw. He spotted her at a local dance (around the 1930's)and asked her to dance with him. She flatly refused that time he asked, and the next...and the next. Finally, she got tired of him asking and said yes. They were married a short time later and had my Mom!

Granny loved telling the story of how she didn't want to dance with "that man", but somehow he captured her heart anyway. They were happily married until he passed in 1973. Sigh... :)


jo lewis-robertson said...

What a moving story, Joan! My mother met my dad in church, although he was scoping out the girls rather than being very religious! Mom said she knew the moment she saw him that she wanted to marry him. She was fourteen; he was seventeen.

Four years later they eloped because he was one of the rowdy Lewis brothers and Mom's father was the sheriff! They were married for fifty years. Until the day he died, he wrote her love notes and left them in unusual places for her to find days later.