Memories to Last a Life Time

By Gail B. King

Part l

 The alarm clock rang and Alex reached out her hand to hit the snooze button.  Ten more minutes of sleep would be heavenly.

"Oh no, you don't, Alex.  I know your tricks.  It's time we got up."

Walker wrapped his beautiful wife up in his arms and planted a gentle kiss squarely on her lips.

"Walker, I'm so tired.  Please let me sleep a little longer."  Alex demonstrated one of the best yawn and stretching routines he had seen in quite some time.

"If you're that tired Alex, forget the mayor's party tonight."  He had the mischievous half-grin on his faced she loved.

Alex knew he had been teasing her, but she desperately wanted to go to this party.  It would be their first social occasion since they had been married, and she had been almost fatally shot by Storm.  In fact, she had told her husband, in no uncertain terms, that wild horses wouldn't keep her away. "Then, Mrs. Cahill-Walker, out you come."

"Walker....    I'm not working today.  How come I've got to get up?"

"You need to pack for our honeymoon, tomorrow."

"I'd thought you were kidding.  You've never taken that much time off."   "I've never been married before."

"Where are we going?   I guess I'd better go shopping."

"Alex, you don't need much on a honeymoon."  He smiled at her and chuckled.

"You're laughing at me, Walker.  Where'd you say we're going?"

"Nice try, counselor.  I didn't.  I'll tell you later."

"I hate it when you do that.  I don't know how to plan."

"Hang loose, Alex."

Walker showered, shaved, and dressed for a day at the office. 

Somehow he had managed to convince Alex to take the day off so she would enjoy the evening and their honeymoon which started tomorrow. 

Even Walker had decided to work only half a day today which had to be first for him.  The two of them worked together preparing breakfast. 

It was Walker's favorite meal; Alex enjoyed it too, but she hated to get up to eat it.

After breakfast, Walker went into his office and Alex began to get their clothes ready for tonight and her clothes ready for tomorrow. 

I hate it when he surprises me.

After lunch, Alex sat down to rest and began to reflect on the past few months.  Everything with Walker's a surprise so I'd better get used to it.

Sometimes the spirit visions sent by the Great Spirit warned her and sometimes they didn't.  They had told her about his proposal.

Walker had waited to ask her to marry him until she could walk again.

He had known she would say no if he had asked too soon.  Before Uncle Ray had died he had told her Washo was likely to ask her the Cherokee way.  She had known he would.

One day out of the blue he had said, "Alex, these last few months have shown me....   I think you know how I feel.....  Oh hell, Alex, will you share my blanket and let me share yours?"  Then, he had wrapped two blankets around them, kissed her, given one to her, and kept the other for himself.

"Yes."  She remembered the surprised look he had on his face when he realized she knew what he meant.  He had been thrilled that she had known and honored his Cherokee beliefs and customs.

Because it would still be weeks before she would be up to a big celebration, they had decided to have both the traditional religious and Cherokee wedding ceremonies with just Trivette, C.D. and her father.

Then, her father insisted they go to New York for the weekend.  He had suggested they plan their real honeymoon when she was stronger.

When they arrived at the hotel Gordon had arranged for them, she remembered she burst into tears.  He had pulled her close to him and encircled her in his arms.  He felt her hot tears moistening his shirt, and her whole body shook with sobs as she cried on his shoulder.

"What is wrong, Alex?"  She remembered he had asked her with such concern in his voice.

She had looked into his eyes on their wedding night and asked him what he would think if she couldn't satisfy him.   He had told her not to worry because they had the rest of their lives to learn how to do that.

"I'm here, Alex.  I always will be."

As she continued packing she wondered what she had done to deserve such a wonderful husband, friend, and lover.  I've been really blessed.  She sighed as the chimes of the clock brought her back to the world of reality.  I wonder where we're going tomorrow?

Walker came home early to work with his horses before they went out.

When he fed and groomed them he always felt relaxed afterward.  He enjoyed the physical labor involved in mucking and replacing the straw in their stalls.

Today it felt particularly good because the activity helped relieve the tension he felt.

"Come on, Amigo, Cookie.  Let me brush and curry you now."  The horses loved the touch of Walker's hands on their bodies.  They would snuggle up as close to him as they could get and almost knock him down as they pressed hard against him.  After he had finished grooming them, he gave each horse a sweet Texas carrot.  While they ate, he filled their feed buckets and water troughs.

"Okay guys, time to go into your stalls for the night."  Walker looked at them and laughed.

"You're like a couple of kids.  You've figured out I'm goin' somewhere."

Walker rubbed and patted them both.

"I'm sorry guys, but in you go."  He lead them into their stalls for the night.

When Walker came into the ranch house, he found that Alex had already had her bath.  She was about to put on her gown when Walker came up behind her and put his arms around her.

"What did I do to deserve you, Alex?"  He asked the question with all seriousness.

"Whatever it was, I did it, too, because I got you."  As she spoke she turned to face him and he gathered her in his arms and kissed her before he began to get cleaned up.

"Walker, where're we going on our honeymoon?"  She asked him plainly.

She knew he wouldn't answer the question until he had been ready so it wouldn't help to trick him into telling her.

"I do sure like you in my blanket."  He hugged her and kissed the top of her head.

"I'm glad to be here.  But you're being evasive."  The look that her eyes communicated told him to 'spill the beans' right now.

"We're going to Lahaina, Maui, at 9:30 this morning."

"What did you say?  We're going to Maui?"

"Yeah.  That's what I said."

"Whatever for?  And such short notice, too.  Damn it, Walker."  She hadn't taken this surprise very well.

"I'd thought you'd like to go!"  Walker gave her a puzzled look.

"You know I do.  But, I don't have a thing to wear."

"Yeah, I know."  His laugh sounded wicked as he gave her a squeeze and a gentle kiss on her mouth.

"I don't understand.  Why Hawaii?  I'd think you'd rather be here."

"Hell, Alex, I can't explain it.  It's got something to do with making memories."

"We can do that here."

"Will you just trust me."

"I still think you're a rat.  You should've told me sooner."  She had tried to sound angry but had begun to laugh over the situation.  Who in their right might would complain about a honeymoon on Maui?

"You can go shopping in Lahaina after we're there."   Walker yawned and stretched his legs.

"I'll hold you to that promise, husband."

"Okay.  Go to sleep.  We've got an early start in the morning."

The weather cooperated with them as they left the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.  Their flight had been non-stop, and before they knew it they had arrived on Maui.  The location of the airport was actually Kihei, Maui, and they drove by field after field of sugar cane on the Way to Lahaina.  On the hillsides, Alex noticed fields of what appeared to be some species of boermilliad.

"Walker, look, pineapple fields."  She pointed them out to him.

"Yeah."  He chuckled under his breath that the first thing she noticed had to do with food.  "You're getting hungry?"

"Maybe.  But, I've always wondered how pineapples grew."

As the road brought them closer to Lahaina, they noticed the land began to change.  It was much wetter on the Lahaina side of Maui than the Kihei side.  "This is the most beautiful place I've ever seen."  Alex tried to take in everything she saw as though there were no tomorrow.

"Yeah.  You're right."

When they reached Lahaina, he drove to the Ka'aneapoli Beach Hotel where they would spend their honeymoon.  He asked her to wait in the lobby while he registered them and then he took her to their room.  She hadn't known it, but he had arranged for the honeymoon suite for them.  When they reached the door, he unlocked it, pushed it open, picked her up in his arms, and carried her across the threshold.  Then, he placed her on the floor so she faced him.

"Alex , I love you.  You make me happier than I dreamed was possible."

He had started to kiss he but she stopped him for just a minute.

"Walker, I love you, too."  She then raised her lips to his and they met in a gentle but passionate kiss.  There was no urgency in it.  The kiss was just the sheer joy of being together and in love.

"Where do you want to have dinner tonight?"  He still held her in his arms as though she might vanish if he let go of her.

"Let's nap and have room service.  We can begin sight-seeing tomorrow."

She pulled away from him slightly and looked into his eyes.  She could tell he had been pleased by the suggestion.  This is the right place to make new memories.

Several hours later the two of them awoke from their naps.

"Gee, I'm hungry, now, Walker."

"Me, too.  Let's look at the menu and call room service."

They looked at the menu.  Because Alex liked salads so much, she decided to order a seafood salad.  Since Walker had been a meat, bread and potatoes man, he ordered a steak.  They decided to have sweet potato pie for dessert.

They dressed and waited for room service to arrive and Walker answered the door.

"Thanks," he said.  He handed the bell hop a tip.  "Something smells good."

Alex lit the candles on the cart before they both sat down.  She had been relieved to see rolls were included with her salad because she had forgotten to order some.  Walker raised the lid on his dinner first, and it look great.  Then Alex raised the lid on her salad and stared at it in horror.

"Walker, this looks horrible.  What's this stuff?"  She pointed to some kind of green semi-leafy stuff on her plate.  She decided she would taste it so she could determine what it was.

"This is seaweed!  Actually it's not bad.  A little salty, but not bad."

"Do you know what these things are?"  She pointed to the seafood on top of the seaweed.

She moved the seafood around so she could inspect it.  The more closely she looked, the bigger her eyes got.

He looked at her salad, then he looked at her face.  He tried with all his might to keep from laughing at her, but it wasn't any use.

"They're baby octopus and squid."

"You're kidding."  She looked astonished.

"No.  They've been cooked so you can eat them."  He was still laughing at her.

"But they have suction cups on them."  Alex felt shivers run up her spine.

"Dip your seafood in that....."  Walker was about to fall out of his chair as he pointed to the poi.

"Yeah.  What's it made from?"  She looked at him.  She was trying to stay irritated but she had begun laugh, too.

"That's poi.   It's made from the roots of Elephant Ears."

"Oh, great.  This stuff's made from plants I have in my garden."  Even Alex had begun to enjoy their conversation about the salad.

"What'd you say the poi did?"  Her serious manner when she asked that question had him laughing again.

"It'll fill in suction cups.  Then you won't feel them."  He watched as another shiver went down her spine.

Then she looked him straight in the eye.

"Walker, you knew what this would be before I ordered it, didn't you?"

"I thought it might be unusual."

"Unusual?  I think you should share your dinner with me."

"Hey, wait a minute."

"And, I'll share my salad with you."  It was her turn to laugh at him now, and she enjoyed it very much.

Alex tried her salad and discovered that when dipped in the poi, the tenicaled creatures actually tasted good and she couldn't feel the suction cups.  She also found the seaweed had a wonderful flavor, and it had been seasoned with a very light wine.  She even managed to coax a bit of steak from Walker but he flatly refused to eat the octopus or squid.  She laughed for several days about Walker's squeamish stomach.

"Walker, I can't believe you didn't want any of my octopus and squid."

She couldn't help reminding him of it.

"Yup.  If I was supposed to eat them, I'd raise them on the ranch."

After they had finished their main courses they looked at the sweet potato pie.  Then they looked at each other and burst out laughing.

"They must have purple sweet potatoes here.  Well, I'm game it you are."

Alex looked at Walker.

"Okay, here goes."   They both tasted and then ate their pie.

"We're going to remember this for a long time.  You've got to admit it's been funny."  She looked into his eyes with love and his answered back as he gathered her in his arms and kissed her tenderly.

"Yeah.  It's a wonderful memory."

They tried to visit a new place very day.  Walker had scheduled a two day trip for them to a little village on the east end of the island called Hana.

Hana had been founded in the late 1700's by whalers because the bay had been a safe place to anchor their ships.  Years ago, someone had built a tree house to provide protection and hidden observations as ships came and left the harbor.

"We're going to do what?"  Alex couldn't believe her ears.

"We're going to Hana to sleep in a tree house."  He smiled at her and kissed her cheek.

"Yeah, right.  You Tarzan, me Jane."

They literally had to go along for the ride because there had only been a dirt road for the last 15 miles to the tree house and the general public was not allowed to use the road.  In fact only tours took people in and out Of Hana.

"Walker, I'd would think you'd want to drive there."

"Honey, there're 54 one lane bridges and 615 switch back curves on that road.  That doesn't include the road to the tree house.  I'd like to see the scenery not the road."  He smiled at her.

Their weekend in the tree house had been delightful.  Three other couples went and all had a great time.  There hadn't much privacy there, but it didn't matter.  It had been another wonderful memory they could store in their hearts and minds for future use.

On Monday day of their second week, Walker suggested they go down to Mekena Beach to learn how to wind surf.  She liked the idea and they spent the morning on the Big Beach taking lessons and doing they best they could not to get hurt.  After lunch, Walker asked Alex if she might like to hike over to "Little Beach" where they could go to relax and swim in the sheltered pool if she liked.

"I'd love to, Walker.  Swimming in the calmer water sounds like fun."

"We need to hike over this volcanic flow."  He pointed to the volcanic dikes and flows that concealed the beach from view.

"Let me get our towels and blanket.  We may need them."

"Sounds good."

They hiked over the volcanic lava flow.  Much of the lighter weight rock and soil had washed away leaving huge volcanic dikes which separated big beach from little beach.  When they finally reached Little Beach Alex momentarily stopped in her tracks.  She looked at her husband with approving and adoring eyes and the two of them walked on until they found a place to lay their blanket and towels.

"Alex, I love you."  He looked at her with a questioning look in his eyes.

"Walker, I know you do, and I love you, too.  I've a confession to make."

She rolled over from her back to her side and propped her head up on her hand.

"Yeah?"  He asked as he changed positions to face her.

"When you said we were going to Maui, I thought you'd lost it.  I thought we didn't need to do that."

"I knew you had doubts."

"Since we've been here, I know you were right.  These are our memories, Walker.  No one we know can interfere or intrude on them.  They're what we've made them, and we'll have them stored  in our hearts forever."

"Alex, thank you."

"You're welcome, but what for?"

"For saying what I felt but couldn't get out."

They nestled together on the blanket and dosed for an hour or so.  Then they got up and went swimming in the calm water of the pool made by the small barrier reef that protected it from the crashing waves.  After swimming for sometime, they realized it was time to leave.  They were tired and needed a nap before they got ready for dinner.

Alex had been the first to awaken this time and she thought she would die of hunger.  She tickled Walker behind his ear with little kisses to wake him up.

"Cowboy, your wife is starved."  She laughed and smiled at him.  "Won't you rescue her from this terrible predicament?"

"I'll just order room service right now."

"Oh no, you don't.   You promised me we'd go shopping and I want to go today."  She smiled mischievously at him.

"Are you going to be this way every time we go to Little Beach?"

"What a wonderful idea!  Walker, I didn't know you could be so creative."

She laughed as she hugged him.  "No, but I really am hungry and I'd like to go shopping."

"Your slightest wish is my command."

They dressed and had dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant and then went shopping.  Alex didn't buy much which had been a relief to Walker.  It was a great night on the town.  So many wonderful memories from today, she thought.

For the rest of their honeymoon, they made sure they spent some time on Little Beach everyday.  Sometimes they would go a dawn, dusk, mid-morning, or late afternoon.  They always went to enjoy each other, and to enjoy this beautiful place God had made for them.  At least that was how they felt about it.  This had been God's special place.

When it came to return to Dallas, Alex cried because she hadn't wanted to leave this beautiful island.  They had begun to make their own memories here, and it surprised her to see mist in Walker's eyes, too.  They looked at each other and kissed until they were breathless.

"We'll continue to make our memories at home, counselor."

"Thank you for bringing me here, cowboy.  This has been a place to make memories to last at life time."

Six months had passed since Alex and Walker had returned from their honeymoon.  It had been a beautiful June evening, and they snuggled together in each others' arms on the porch swing.  Alex listened to the strong steady beat of Walker's heart while he enjoyed the scent of her hair and body.

As if on cue, they looked at each other, even though neither one had spoken a word.  They kissed each other with gentle passion and rose together from the swing.

Since their marriage, Walker and Alex thought of each day as a blessing for them from God and a day to make memories.  They had knew better than most couples that whatever they did together they were making memories.  They became very aware of the things they argued about with each other and became more selective.  If something could be settled without harsh words, they did.

They had just drifted of to sleep when the phone rang.  Walker answered the phone so Alex could sleep.

"Walker."

"Hey, it's Trivette."

"Do you know what time it is?"

"Yeah.  It's C.D., Walker.  He's had a stroke."

"Oh my God.  Where is he?"

"They have him at Dallas Memorial.  He's in intensive care."

"Let me wake Alex, and we'll be right there."

"Okay, man.  See you shortly."

Walker gently rubbed Alex's shoulder.

"Honey, you need to get up."

"Go away, I'm tired."  She tried to roll over but he held her in place.

"Alex, listen to me.  C.D.'s had a stroke.  We need to get to the hospital."

He said it slowly and deliberately so she could focus on what he said.

"C.D.?  A stroke?  Oh, no...."  What he was trying to tell her had finally begun to sink in.

"Come on.  Let's get up."

Alex moved as swiftly as she could in her sleepy state.  Both of them dressed as quickly as possible and climbed into Walker's truck for the drive to Dallas.

Once they arrived at the hospital they joined Trivette in the ICU waiting lounge.  The three of them began to reminisce.

"You know, if it hadn't been for C.D., I probably would have gone back to Baltimore and become a God only knows...."  Trivette stopped talking a minute and thought about how the older Ranger had taken the time to befriend an injured football player.

"When I think of the hours he spent with me helping me learn to believe in myself when nobody else, including myself, did.  I feel pretty overwhelmed."

Trivette thought how C.D. had encouraged him to get into law enforcement, And then when he had in enough time to apply for a position in Ranger Company B.  He had also encouraged him to ask for Walker as his partner.

"I guess I'll treasure those memories for a lifetime."  He wiped a tear away from his cheek.  This was one time he figured tears were okay.

Walker looked at his beautiful wife.  "I never would've asked you to marry me if it hadn't been for C.D.  He told me two things I'll never forget."

"What were they, Walker?"  Alex had memories she wanted to tell, too, but she reached out and held Walker's hand.

"He told me he'd let the woman he'd loved go 'cause he figured she wouldn't want to marry a Ranger.  He didn't even ask her to marry him.  He assumed she wouldn't.   He told me not be make the same mistake."

"And?"

"He told me to take you someplace and start our own special memories."

Walker kissed her hand tenderly.

"He helped me, too.  When you'd go off in a huff, he'd assure me you'd be back.  He was always right."  She looked at Walker and the tears rolled down her face.

"He encouraged me to hang on just a little while longer when I'd given up on you."

The three friends continued to talk and reminisce about how much C.D. had been a part of their lives.  The influence he had had on them, his encouragement, and his way of disagreeing with them.  He had certainly helped them make memories for their life times.

"Rangers Trivette and Walker, Mrs. Walker, I'm sorry but Ranger Parker passed away at 4:10 this morning.  Would you like to see him before the send the body to the morgue?"

"Doc, we're the only family C.D. had."

"That's right.  We'll make arrangements for the burial."  Trivette chimed in.

"Oh, Ranger, C.D. had this clutched in his hand when he came in.  It's addressed to you."  The physician handed the letter to Walker.

June 23, 1998

"Dear Cordell,

I ain't been feeling too good lately so I figured I better write a little something down about my wishes for being buried and all.

First of all, I have a regular will and I've left everything to you, Jimmy and Alex.  I'd like to see you keep C.D.'s open and let Mabel run it.

She's been a good friend and she'll do a fine job for you.

If you're reading this letter, it means I've gone on to greener

Pastures and to meet the Lord face to face.  But I was wondering if I might ask a favor.  Could you bury me on your ranch?  You know that little place by the river where your uncle and I used to fish?  My best memories are from there and I wanted to be there, too.

C.D."

Walker, Alex and Trivette finished the letter and sat down for a few minutes.  C.D. had said the best memories of his life had been made there with Uncle Ray.  There that phrase had been again --memories to last a life time.

Walker looked at the doctor and asked him to have C.D.'s body sent to the ranch tomorrow for a Cherokee burial.  They had decided they would have a memorial service in the church later.

Time flew buy for Walker and Alex.  Their wedding anniversary came and went; the honeymoon anniversary came and went; and the anniversary of C.D.s' death came.  They headed across the ranch to the campsite where Uncle Ray and C.D. were buried.

"Uncle Ray, I've got someone for you to meet."

"Hi Uncle Ray and C.D.  It's Alex.  Walker and I want you to meet your new nephew.  He's three months old today.  This is Raymond Charles Firewalker."

Alex handed their first son to Walker.  He held his son above his head and turned to face the four corners of the earth.  Then he chanted the Cherokee father's blessing for his son.

"Walker, I'm glad we waited until today to bring RC here.  This has been a great day to remember."

"You're right, Alex.  It's a good day to make a memory to last a life time."  While still holding his son with one arm, Walker wrapped his other arm around his wife and kissed her.  The kiss began gently at first but then he began to taste her lips .........

The End