October 6, 1998.
“So, there you are,” Betty said as she entered the attic. She walked over to Charlie and placed her hands on his broad shoulders. She glanced down at the photo of them on their wedding day with Zach. They looked so young and happy in the photo. “Seems like yesterday, doesn’t it?”
“Sure does.” Charlie said.
“I know you miss him, I miss him too,” she said. “We can only be grateful for the time we had with him.” Then she took a hold of his hand. “C’mon, sweetie, the kids are here and everyone’s asking for Pop-Pop.”
He brought her hand to his lips and kissed it. Then he placed the photo album on the desk and got to his feet with her help. “So, the little monsters are asking for me, huh?”
“They sure are. You know how they love their Pop-Pop, but they’re not so little anymore,” she said as she followed him carefully down the attic stairs.
Charlie and Betty’s children and grandchildren were in the backyard when they entered the patio. It was a beautiful autumn afternoon. Charlie noticed that their long picnic table was filled with beautifully wrapped birthday presents.
Their oldest son, James Zachary was tending to the grill while Christopher Robert, his younger brother was handing out beer from the cooler to their brother-in-laws, Lonnie and Jamal. They were talking about sports; particularly basketball.
Charlie and Betty’s oldest daughter, Tara and her younger sister, Michelle were putting food out on the table. Tina, Tara’s daughter was playing with her son, who they nicknamed “Little Charlie.”
“There’s Pop-Pop,” someone shouted as the grandchildren ran to him.
Charlie picked up “Little Charlie,” his grandson. “My word, you’re getting heavy.”
“He eats like a horse,” Tina said.
“Gee, I wonder who he takes after?” Betty said.
“Yeah, I wonder who that could be?” Tara said as she greeted her grandparents with a kiss.
Charlie’s youngest son Christopher came over and gave his father a hug. “Happy birthday, Pop.”
“Hey son, how’s it going?” Charlie asked.
“Good, good, no complaints,” Christopher replied as he handed him a beer.
Eventually, the entire family greeted “Pop-Pop” and “Grammy” with hugs and kisses, and soon the backyard became filled with music, conversations, and laughter.
Later, after everyone had eaten, Betty sat next to Charlie. He held her hand on his lap as they sat and admired their family together. Charlie looked so proud. He brought Betty’s hand to his lips and kissed it. “Thank you.”
“For this,” Charlie said. He looked on and smiled as he watched his family. Then he turned and gazed into Betty’s eyes. “I love you, Mrs. Franklin.”
She smiled and kissed his cheek. “And I love you, my handsome prince. And thank you for always giving me everything I ever wanted.”
“It wasn’t nothing,” Charlie said with a smile.
Charlie Franklin passed away two years later at the age of ninety-four. He died a happy man with a large family. Everyone who knew Charlie, knew his family was the most important thing in the world to him. He always gave credit to his best friend, Zach Mullins for everything. He always said Zach improved his life in so many ways, and for that he was always grateful.
Betty Franklin passed away the following year after Charlie died. She was eighty-nine. They had four children, thirteen grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and another on the way.
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