It took 12 years but Harry and Olive Snyder's wish finally came true: their ashes were scattered over a small rocky edge in the majestic mountains of Dhour Choueir. They called it their 'inspiration point'.
It was here that the young couple stared down at acres of pine trees and faraway villages as they shared their most intimate dreams and thoughts with each other. And now, more than 70 years later, I stood at the same place and watched their 60-year-old daughter, Carlene Howland, scatter her parents' ashes over the very same trees which hid them as they sat on a nearby ledge and discovered their love for each other.
Closely gathered around Carlene were her husband, daughters and son who read out the couple's favourite poems and scripture.
I was handed a flower and, imitating the family, I threw it over the ashes. I didn't know Harry and Olive Snyder but somehow at that moment I felt I did.
'They always told us that after their death their wish was to be brought back to Lebanon,' said Carlene. 'This is where their heart was, this is where they fell in love, got married and this is where they would like to come back to.'
For the past 12 years, she has kept the urns containing her parents' ashes in a chest at home and watched Lebanon from afar waiting for a chance to come.
When the war ended, she began planning her family's visit to Lebanon.
'I finally feel that they are where they want to be and back in nature again,' said Carlene. 'I am happy now.'
Prompted, she tells me the couple's romantic tale.
The year was 1927 and Harry, a 21-year-old university graduate eager to explore the other end of the world, had just arrived to Beirut from Wisconsin to take up a teaching position at the American University of Beirut. As he was making his way out of the ship, he saw two young women running to greet each other. Suddenly they both slipped and fell on the deck. Unable to contain himself, Harry burst out laughing - earning him a severe frown from the women.
'Well, I certainly don't like him and don't want to meet him,' thought one of the women as she stood up.
Although of Scottish descent, Olive Somerville spoke perfect Arabic. Her grandfather, an engineer, came to Lebanon in 1848 to install machinery in silk mills. He fell in love with the country and its people and with his wife settled in Lebanon. They had four daughters, one of whom was Olive's mother.
During War World One, however, famine and sickness spread through the country. Olive's mother contracted pneumonia and died when Olive was only 13. As her father was then working abroad, Olive and her brothers moved in with their aunts in the Evangelical Missionary Compound on the Dhour Choueir mountain.
Not long after the couple's first unsuccessful meeting, Olive was invited to attend a welcoming party for new staff at the American University of Beirut. Formally introduced to Harry, the young woman refrained from mentioning their former embarrassing encounter. In time, however, they began dating.
Both avid hikers, the couple used to walk hours through acres of forests and villages all the way from the center of town to the Missionary Compound in the mountains. It was there that they adopted the rocky ledge as their 'inspiration point', overlooking picturesque villages and the distant mountains.
'This is where they fell in love,' said Carlene, recalling the story her parents told her time and time again. 'And they decided to get married in the chapel of the missionary compound.'
On 8 April 1928, Harry and Olive said their wedding vows and walked over to gaze out from inspiration point.
Two years later, they went to live in the US. But their love for Lebanon never disappeared and their memories of inspiration point remained.
A few weeks after Carlene and her family returned to the US, I went back there. It was no longer just a rocky ledge overlooking beautiful scenery. It was a special niche where young love bloomed, where two lives intertwined and dreams were discussed.
As I smiled at the thought, I could have sworn I heard Harry and Olive laughing.
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