Our hickory tree sheds its yellow leaves and it's warm here, fog rolls off the river like smoke and I've a headache, so there.
The television streams soft music. Herself roams room to room in search of lost sweaters. She hid them last year and now wants them restored to her deeply packed walk-in closet - an area most inaccessible because the clutter of shoe boxes and miscellaneous stuff bars the door, and above all hangs three of my rifles on homemade pegs. I'm sneaky that way...headache and all.
I just came back inside from a task in the garage. I thought if I puttered around out there this pain would vanish. What a joke of an idea. So, I continue to suck down ice water and wait.
Late yesterday, in southern Georgia, I held children, sweet little boogers, and accepted their kisses and hugs, and for the first time in months felt love and warmth. Nieces and nephews are worth their weight in gold. Their grandmother, my baby sister, has cancer. Stage four. Even so she smiled and glowed in their warmth. She is so frail.
I tried to stay outdoors with the other men.
Like country boys everywhere, we talked, smoked, and told grand lies. It was nice under the clear sky of stars and cool wind. I did try and listen. But with the trees and moss and the faint scent of wood smoke and the whistle of trains, I was just too damn distracted to listen to stories of missed shots and local sightings of turkey and deer. There were endless questions of, 'Is this a good caliber for deer,' or 'Stephen what is this rifle worth.'
I'm sick of it. All of it. My soul needs a vacation.
The text came late Christmas night. It read in part, 'Thank you for their Christmas gifts. This is killing me too, so I think we'll try and find a local park for a visit. I want my children to know their grandmother again....if it's okay with you...'
As per the norm of the last three years we'd bagged the grandchildren's gifts, drove to their home and I slipped from the car and, like a thief in the night, sat the bag on their front porch. I knocked and we drove away. Sad to our bones.
The text gave hope.
I told her, "Do it."
We wait. If it happens I'll stand in the background and pray.