After Christmas of that year, Mark's health began to fail. he developed pneumonia in February,1972 . He still hadn't recovered from that when he had another heart attack in March. It wasn't as severe as the first one, but it still damaged his heart.

The day David brought Mark home from the hospital in mid March, David and Emily decided to have the wedding soon, just in case Mark didn't make it through another winter.

David had moved his parents' bedroom furniture down to the downstairs study while his dad was in the hospital. When Mark came home, he wouldn't have to climb the stairs any more. After David and Estelle had gotten Mark settled in bed, they joined Emily in the kitchen.

"Mom, we've decided to get married as soon as possible." David said as he sat down at the table.

"I see, that's probably best. How soon?"

"I guess as early this summer as we can make the arrangements mom, probably early July."

"Have you discussed this with your mother, Emily?"

"Not yet, Mrs. Larson, we just made the decision today. I'll tell mom as soon as I get home."

"Good, have her give me a call. With me and all the Larson women, and Judy Bradshaw, we should be able to get a decent wedding ready by early July."

Just then, the trio heard a good deal of laughing and foot stamping on the snow covered back deck. As David headed toward the back door, someone out on the deck rapped on the door. David opened it to see Joanie and Stuart on the back deck, rosie cheeked from the cold.

"Come in, come in, why didn't you go to the front door, rather than wade through the snow that's left on the lawn?" David asked.

"We saw the lights on back here, and we didn't think anyone would hear the doorbell from back here. Anyway, we're looking for Emily."

The words just gushed out of Joanie's mouth as she jigged up and down with excitement. Emily went to the door to see what Joanie wanted.

"What's up Joanie?"

Stuart stood behind Joanie with his gloved hands on her shoulders. Joanie held a heart shaped snowball in her two bare hands. As Emily approached, she held it out for her sister to see.

"Look, Em!"

Joanie cracked the frozen snowball in half, to reveal a small red velvet ring box inside. Puzzled, Emily took the box and opened it. It was empty.

"Wha...? Emily began.

 Joanie waggled her left hand in front of Emily's face.

"We're engaged!!"  Joanie squealed.

Emily took hold of Joanie's left hand to take a good look at the beautiful solitaire diamond.


The two girls hugged and screamed their delight, as David shook hands with Stuart. Estelle crossed the kitchen to give both girls a joyful hug.

David closed the door behind the couple as they entered the kitchen.

As Joanie and Stuart took off their coats and boots, Estelle made a pot of coffee.

"How is Mr. Larson, Mrs. Larson?" Joanie asked.

"He's tired from the trip, so he's resting now."

"Good, I'm sure he'd rather be here than any where else."

Estelle set cups on the table and poured coffee all around. Everyone sat at the table, discussing the new developments.

"We've decided to have the wedding in Early July."  Emily announced.

" Oooh good!. I want to help! "  Joanie exclaimed.

"Everybody's  going to help. We've got four months to pull it all together."





The End

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