I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth.-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Mona's Musings

July 23rd, 2010

The Secret of Youth

“A kiss makes the heart young again and wipes out the years.”  ~ Rupert Booke

Some things about England that make me young again: counting out change like a first grader to a grinning clerk; losing my way on what should be a familiar street and stopping to cry a little; wrinkling my nose at beans for breakfast or mushy peas for dinner; understanding every third word in a language I thought I knew; driving the drivers I’m dependent on crazy pointing out red double-decker buses and underbellies of giant planes.

I am also completely a child watching a West End show, leaning forward as though I might leap on stage, beaming with an intensity that could distract serious actors. I’m no better at concerts:  the Shrewsbury Orchestra playing Cole Porter or the Army Big Band cranking out Glen Miller makes me clap too loud and wiggle too much for mature British sensibilities. And although I may distract adults with my constant “what’s that?”s — children love me: playing Barbies or pirates is THE best way to practice an English accent.

But for all my helplessness and exuberance, there was a moment last Saturday when I felt youngest of all, the freshest I’ve felt since moving. Dale and I had made our way through a hot day to a county fair in the village of Barnes. We rock-n-rolled like preteens as our friend Lindsay sang with her crazy fun band; ate lunch at a round table I fought like a King Arthur for; and bought a set of ceramic goblets that must have belonged to a fat squire once.

Making our way out of the peasant throng toward the train, we were arrested by this sight:

A carousel.

Not just any carousel: this one was set apart, other-worldly, right out of little-girl-dreams.

Dale excitedly maneuvered us to the side where the real pipe organ was tooting away and pointed out the lady conductor, waving her wooden arms. We could only get a peek at her through the horses that looked so real — in a fantastic sort of way — we believed they might jump off and join a fox hunt any minute. Charmingly, there was nothing to stop them – no fence, no barrier, no carnival workers. In fact, nothing prevented us, or the little people around us, from coming up close to the undulating riders.

We stood like that for a long while.

And then it happened.

A kiss.

Not just any kiss: this one was set apart, other-worldly, right out of little-girl-dreams.

Past and present were all mushed up in that kiss. I felt deliriously adolescent and adored; hardly noticing  that horses hung in mid-air, folks froze in mid-step and pipe organ paused mid-melody — all suspended in time until my boy and I took another breath.



“There have been five great kisses since 1642 B.C…(before then couples hooked thumbs.) And the precise rating of kisses is a terribly difficult thing, often leading to great controversy…Well, this one left them all behind.” William Goldman, The Princess Bride, Chapter One


Hint of Romance

To keep your love young, to clear the slate, kiss in the morning and kiss at noon; kiss with purpose or kiss for no reason; just don’t forget to kiss.

What did you think of this musing?

Join the discussion!


  1. Debbi says:

    Kisses can change everything in an instant! My most memorable kiss was when I was only 18 years old – on New Year’s Eve, I finally had a DATE for NYE!!!! – my boyfriend of almost a year and I were at the stake NYE dance and things had been a little strained for us. Ed was acting funny (later I came to understand that he was insecure if I talked to other fellas and he had watched me greet and visit with several old friends and was quite out of sorts about it over the Christmas break from BYU). Well, midnight was seconds away and everyone was poised with their noise makers, including Ed, and at 3 – 2 – 1 – HAPPY NEW YEAR – I finally was able to do what my little girl heart had been dreaming about for 18 years – a NYE kiss! I grabbed Ed midst his horn blowing and laid a kiss on him not to be forgotten! He was SO not expecting it, and that I initiated it, right there in front of the whole stake, claiming him as mine – no words could have the same impact as that kiss for his aching heart.

    It was an event unto itself. Worth being born for. A sweet memory that is mine forever.

  2. Sharon says:

    Oh Debbi! Your little story is just as wonderful and heartwarming as Mona’s! Both sound oh so romantic!!! Mona, this story (including the carousel horses) has really taken me away to all those dreamy little girl moments when you imagine the knight on the white horse charging up at just the right second to save you from danger and sweeping you up into his arms for the most romantic and heart pounding kiss of a lifetime! That kind of kiss, like Wesley and Buttercup’s, is just what I imagine, just what you and Dale had by the carousel and get to experience forever! I’m so grateful that you and Dale have each other to cherish for the eternities!

  3. Heidi says:

    I’m VERY much looking forward to it! :-)

    I like the carousel reference. My mom LOVES carousels. When I’m on my own and I see one, I make sure to ride it for my mother.

  4. ButMadNNW says:

    “Sweet 16 and never been kissed”… plus 15 years.

    There are times I genuinely ache for “my time”, “my chance”…

    • mona says:

      I think I understand a tiny bit about the aching….since Dale has traveled extensively for so many years…when he is gone for an extended period and I see a passionate TV or movie kiss – the longing hurts. It must hurt so much more though to be open-ended in your anticipation. My heart goes out to you and I’m sending all my good thoughts and wishes to heaven to bring you the world’s BEST kisser — pronto!

      • Bri Z. says:

        I know a little how you feel as well momsie. When Grant has left for two-weeks at a time, the romance movies are the worst kind. They just hurt! The worst was when we had not seen each other for a week and a half and then got together but were not “allowed” to kiss because he was “in uniform” for a performance. Sometimes, breaking the rules doesn’t make you feel quite so guilty . . . :)

    • Heidi says:

      Same here. The last few months have been the hardest for me, so far.

    • Bri Z. says:

      I too saved my first kiss till I was engaged to my forever sweetheart. I did not have to wait as long as you, but I can tell you that in my experience, he was worth every second of the wait. and he still is. :)

  5. Bri Z. says:

    Yesterday I was standing at the luggage carousel in the PDX airport waiting for my bag to come spinning by. Next to me I heard a squeal, a sniffle, and a smack. I looked over and directly to my left, so close that I could reach out, a couple had abandoned all notion of public decency as they lovingly greeted one another with a passionate embrace. My grin could not be contained.

    I thought back to a recent reunion of my own. Two weeks was a long time and as Grant walked up to me outside the SLC airport, beaming brighter than the blinding sun above. So often had I imagined him in his absence, that I almost did not believe he was really there. Time slowed– it really did! — as he approached without a word and leaned in for a welcome kiss. I did not grasp reality again until entwined in his arms, so much stronger than mine, he pushed me towards the car.

  6. marzee says:

    I love that you feel like a child, seeing and experiencing the world in a new way all over again. Doesn’t it make you hungry to serve a mission with Dale? I’m sure you would have the same experiences but in a whole new way in which you get to experience them the Lord’s way while doing his work. However, I think if we’re doing things right – we’re always experiencing life in new ways while doing his work.
    About kisses. . . . Just the other day Jon told me that he knows all of my kisses. I was glad, but also a bit disappointed because I don’t want him to be bored – I’d like to be able to surprise him here and there – and have been trying. My attempts mostly end in fits of laughter – for both of us. Knowing each others’ kisses is a good thing . . . . a REALLY good thing. Thanks for your fun musing!

  7. Sue Simper says:

    Hey, Mona, at our house we have always called it “snogging.” For some reason, it seems cooler to use a good ol’ British slang word. Evan even made a CD labeled “snogging songs.” So, snog on!

    We miss you lots – when are you coming home for a little visit?

  8. Emily says:

    My favorite kiss is probably the first one Brent and I shared. It was not my first kiss but it was his. We’d been dating for about a month and he had just spent the evening with me and my roommates and friends (brave man, indeed). We wanted a couple of minutes alone to say goodnight so we stood outside the front door of my apartment. I think we both knew it was going to happen but were really nervous. My friends were standing just inside the closed door singing “Kiss the Girl” taking turns looking through the peephole. Embarrassing! But as he hugged me goodnight, he quickly kissed my cheek (he says it was to “test the waters”) at which point I turned my head towards his and he gave me the shortest little peck on the lips you’ve ever seen. We both turn bright red, sheepishly squeaked out a goodnight and I rushed inside as he practically ran down the hall back to his apartment. And it certainly wasn’t by chance that the next day is the first time we said “I love you”.

    • mona says:

      Oh Emily! How precious! The first time Dale kissed me was actually on stage! (Another whole Musing.) But the first time he kissed me as ME (instead of “Sarah Brown”) was on the front porch of my cabin in West Yellowstone, with all my roommates just inside the door too! I think they remember the whole incident better than I do!

  9. Kissing is something that I enjoy doing when no one is looking. I am afraid that others might be offended by my enthusiasm; too much affection for them in public.
    When I read about kissing or watch it on movies it holds so much magic and love.
    Maybe I should practice kissing in public or out in the open when the moment is right and stop worrying about other peoples reactions. Maybe, just maybe, my kiss will be a ‘fairy tale romance’ moment for someone else.

  10. Valerie M. says:

    Awwww! So sweet.

    I just wanted to answer your question on my blog post about CSN stores giveaway. They are an online store, no storefronts anywhere, that’s based in the US. So if you won, you’d have to pay international shipping charges. It probably wouldn’t be worth it for you, unfortunately, but I don’t know. Sorry!!

    • mona says:

      no no! i was just curious! We have so many stores here in the UK I’ve never heard of. PLEASE don’t let me win — just curious! You do such fun things on your blog like that!

  11. I’m pretty sure we are kindred spirits you and I, the more I read, the more I see my own reflection becoming clearer. I’m absolutely inspired to go write about a kiss in my own blog now. The line about past and present being mushed together, and time pausing all around you-awesome! I caught the feeling mid air-I’ve been there too, with my own love, and it’s bliss.

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