The Perfect Day

By Lisa Hadden

February 8, 2021

The Perfect Day

The images are still with me thirty-five years later. The weather in the Northeast Michigan woods on Grand Lake is warm, heavy with fragrance of late summer, cedar pines, sandy soil, the water clapping the edge of the land. The turquoise sky turns to twilight with a soft glow of lavender rising.

I trot through the sand to the neighboring lot to see Evelyn, my mother-in-law’s best friend. A heavy-set woman, she wears a chartreuse bathing suit while sitting at her picnic table, her plump arms spooning out large scoops of potato salad for six children.

She greets with me with her warm-body hug, comforting and friendly. In conversation, she confides to me she once had seven children, but years ago her youngest boy was hit by a motorist when the driver failed to stop for the school bus. He was killed instantly in front of her house. Evelyn tells this story from a dream in her eyes, her body emptied of tears long ago as she accepted this strange life, wearing a shroud of quiet grief. As a young woman, my stomach twists. How can one live with such sorrow and still dice onions, boil eggs and chop potatoes for a large family?

Evelyn turns to me, smiles, and with her hand over her forehead in a salute to the sun, shading the last shards of light from her eyes, she says, “Isn’t this a perfect day?”


Lisa Hadden is a writer living in the forests of Mid Michigan and received her M.A. in Creative Non-Fiction from Central Michigan University.  She previously published in Riverteeth’s Beautiful Things, and other journals.  Lisa is currently working on a book of memoir essays entitled, “Deerfield: A Refuge of Memory.”


Image by Rafael Zuniga courtesy of Unsplash


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