Back when I was in grade school, we often memorized poems. Robert Frost was always a favorite, and over the years I still remember reciting “The Road Not Taken” with the rest of the class.
This little ritual was part and parcel of the times, and I have to say that reciting poetry didn’t hurt any of us. Speaking just for me, I found that reciting a poem out loud made wonderful word pictures in my head. “The Road Not Taken” became one of my favorite Robert Frost poems.
To this day when I think about that poem, I wonder about my own roads not taken. I think that we all look back from time to time, wondering what would have happened if we had done this or that? How would those things affect our lives then and now?
I always played it safe; I wasn’t a risk-taker. I was raised in a time where I was often told the outcomes of hasty decisions. Cautionary mottos were everywhere, such as “look before you leap,” and “pride goeth before a fall,” and so on. Back then, I took the safe and reliable road, not the road I didn’t know.
Years passed, and after surviving a bad marriage, I said that I would never marry again. I wasn’t going to risk my heart again, and I was going to live life my way and live alone. At the time, it seemed like the best course for me, and I looked forward to not having to put up with anyone else. At that time, it was welcome freedom.
And then the Crankee Yankee came back into my life.
The Crankee Yankee and I had known each other for years; he was 26 and I was 25 when we met. He married my then best friend’s older sister, and we all ended up living four houses away from each other on the same street in NH for years. When I married my first husband, we moved to MA.
Two years after my divorce, I was living in Garland, TX. One evening the phone rang and I heard a familiar voice on the other end. It was the Crankee Yankee, now a long-distance trucker. He said that he was coming through TX the next day and would I like to go to out to dinner with him?
By this time, he too was divorced. I was happy to see my old friend again and catch up. We met at a Mexican restaurant, and we talked and laughed until they started putting the chairs up on the tables. We had said our goodbyes, and I wondered if I would see him again.
A few months later, he called and asked if I would like to be his date to his daughter’s graduation from West Point Academy. As I hadn’t seen his daughter in years, I accepted. As we walked the campus together, the Crankee Yankee told me that his daughter was getting married that September, and would I like to go? I did.
Between the graduation and the wedding, we talked on the phone a lot. We talked about old times and laughed a lot. One evening I got a phone call from the Crankee Yankee, and it sounded as though his cell phone was breaking up. When he said, “will you marry me?” I thought I was hearing things.
Still feeling burned from my failed marriage a few years ago, I thought I would never marry again. And then I heard myself say, “yes—yes, I will.” All my fears about commitment and being hurt again vanished.
That was over 15 years ago, and I have to say that I finally took the road not taken; am I glad I did!
*The Road Not Taken,” by Robert Frost