A sudden rush of frozen air cut through the silence that accompanied the falling snow engulfing the rider and his horse. Alex jumped off his beautiful Clydesdale even before the fancy feathers of Bella’s hooves came to a complete stop. He could see Emma busy working inside as he tied his horse to the cedar railing in front of the ice cream parlor. His leather boots made a delightful crunching sound as he made his way through the knee high drifts of snow.
A sudden rush of frozen air cut through the silence that accompanied the falling snow engulfing the rider and his horse. Alex jumped off his beautiful Clydesdale even before the fancy feathers of Bella’s hooves came to a complete stop. He could see Emma busy working inside as he tied his horse to the cedar railing in front of the ice cream parlor. His leather boots made a delightful crunching sound as he made his way through the knee high drifts of snow. As he walked up the steps and through the double swinging doors Alex’s heart began to move towards his throat. As much as he loved ice cream, Alex wasn’t exactly there for the frozen confectionary. He had another reason for visiting the shop that Thursday evening and she was standing right there behind the counter.
Emma had just turned eighteen; she was smart, attractive and could light up any place she wanted with just a quick, unassuming smile. Alex was nineteen and had noticed Emma several times at the local community church. Although shy, Alex was drawn to Emma’s beauty like a moth into the flame of a candle and, for the moment, it would seem that Cupid’s arrow had found a way through his quiet, tough exterior but just as he got up the courage to talk to her someone pushed open the door.
“Welcome to a taste of heaven, what can I get for you tonight?” Emma said with a smile that was both friendly and warm enough to melt any cold air that got in.
“Well, we are celebrating tonight,” said the familiar elderly couple in unison and as they walked through the doors of the shop the festive sleigh bells affixed to the lintel played a seasonal tune.
The snow had come early this year, for Alpine, catching the plowmen off guard as the lamplighters lit the street lamps that ran the entire length of Alpine Boulevard. Mr. and Mrs. Wright peeled off their frozen neck scarves, hung up their coats and shuffled over to see what flavors had been made earlier in the day.
The Wright’s were celebrating fifty years of marriage this November and the ice cream shop was within walking distance of their ranch, which had been built overlooking a very large field on the plateau. The couple loved to take walks along the boulevard where they would peek into the store fronts which were all decorated in fall colors; deep red cranberry garland, sweet smelling pine boughs and bright orange pumpkins. Emma thought what a darling couple they made and tried to imagine what they both looked like years before when they were her age.
A crackling fire was burning in the corner fireplace beckoning the couple to come and enjoy her warmth. Mr. Wright took out his glasses with his free hand as a scoop of chocolate chip mint went into his mouth with the other. Alex was warming up too as he continued to stare directly into Emma’s beautiful greenish blue eyes. As his faced flushed and his heart felt like it was going to pop right out of his chest, Alex desperately searched for something to say.
“Emma, I was thinking of hitching up Bella to the open sleigh and was wondering if you would like to go for a ride later tonight?” Alex was both startled and relieved that the words came out in one complete coherent sentence. “The church is hosting the elections and its annual harvest festival, so I thought we might go for some spiced apple cider and rhubarb pie?” continued Alex with a smile. Gracefully, Emma accepted his offer and plans were set for seven.
In simpler times, young men and women courted before marriage and could still enjoy a frosty evening sleigh ride on the way to vote at the community church. Ice cream was home made as well as apple pies, penny candy and all local cuisine was raised or home grown on local neighborhood farms. People didn’t need to be reminded to hold a door open for another, help out at the local church or even turn out to exercise their right to vote in the elections.
So let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. Husbands love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word.