The Perfect Last Sunday
Written by
Lanita Moss
December 2011
Written by
Lanita Moss
December 2011

This story is part of a series on Writing and Memories that was commissioned by Cori Howard, the instructor of the SheWrites online class, Writing for Moms. Each story in this series is written by one of the students in these classes. The next session starts in January. Click here for more registration and more details. Or email [email protected]

A few weeks ago, I saw a flier for a county fair and it brought back a flood of memories. I have always loved the county fair, with roasted corn on the cob, cotton candy, funnel cake, livestock barns and Ferris wheels. 

One Sunday morning, when my husband and I were still living in New York, we took a drive up the Hudson River to attend the Duchess County fair.  It was a perfect late summer day, warm and sunny, but we could feel and smell fall in the air. We grew up on county fairs. He was a farm boy and I grew up in a small rural community. In college, we would go to the county fair and watch his nephews show dairy cattle.

Living in the city had limited the amount of cornfields and horse manure we were exposed to on a daily basis, so whenever we had a chance, we would head out of the city to get a taste of home. Tom had been struggling at work because the rumors were flying about his company relocating outside of New York and so, we spent the entire day talking about being back in the country and what it would be like to own a car again, and a house, with a yard. We talked about becoming parents.

We spent the day walking around the fairgrounds, playing carny games and eating pancakes, funnel cake, lemon shake-ups, corn dogs and other artery-clogging food. We sat together in the Ferris wheel. The Hudson River Valley was at our feet. The river was just to the west, and the forests surrounding the waterway were just beginning to lose their summer green.

We talked, and talked. What would life be like if we left New York?  What would it be like to be a parent? What would it be like to live in the Midwest again? Life had been difficult lately. Our daughter’s adoption had been delayed due to the Russian practice of vacationing for the entire month of August. There was uncertainty with his job, and I was fed up with mine. 

We were tired, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Our life felt like a powder keg that was going to blow, we just didn’t know when or how. The best we could hope for was the ability to deal with the fallout, and we knew we could manage, as long as we were together.

We left the fairgrounds reluctantly, soaking up the last smells of frying batter and cow manure. It had been the perfect day. It was late Sunday afternoon, and we faced a hectic drive back to the city and a hectic week ahead. We walked to our car holding hands and sucking the last bit of lemonade out of our glasses. 

I don’t know whether anything would have changed if I knew that was Tom’s last visit to a fair, his last tour of a barn or his last corn dog - his last Sunday. 

Three days later, he died in a plane crash, never getting to experience being a father or moving back home.  I knew the day was perfect, a perfect last Sunday. 

There are so many things about the day that is so vivid, almost as if they happened yesterday, but I never spoke about them or told anyone about it until I started writing.  As the anniversary of his death approaches, I feel an overwhelming need to write about that day.  As I set my hands on the keyboard, the words begin to flow as the memories flood my mind.

I no longer have him, but I still have the memories and now the words of that day locked away for safekeeping.


Do you have memories that have been ”released” by your writing?

To sign up for the next session of Writing for Moms, an online SheWrites class, please click here ; or email: [email protected]

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