Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Just An Old Magazine

I rounded the corner of the hallway into the kitchen to find my Sweet Wife just about to dump some colorful items into the trash. I asked what she was about to throw away, she replied, "Just this old magazine and other junk."

I recognized the old market bag. It had keep me company for many years; packed full of heirlooms, vintage outdoor sporting magazines I'd purchased here and there over a lifetime. It was once a hobby. I enjoyed the memories they evoked, they gave back to me my lost youth. Sadly over the years I'd sold many as the price per copy, as determined by date of publication, proved to profitable to turn down when offered.

The practical side of me said keep a few, and I did so and even regretted those lost to the call of the dollar. I had a habit, on a rare winters day, of taking a few to sit before a nice fire with a cup of coffee and relive my youth.

Those long forgotten moments of my childhood would come flooding back over some simple advertisement like a soft fishing plug ad by Heddon Fishing Lures or perhaps Alladdin's Stanley thermos ads with its, 'Don't Worry, You Can't Break It,' slogan.

I took the copy destined for the trash and held it, smoothed its edges. It was published in May of 1966. When it first appeared in some far away mail box I was a teenager...forty five long years ago. A young man full of, as my grandfather said, piss and vinegar. A tall lanky six foot one inch wild kid with a bad reading and gun habit not opposed to walking a mile to fish a creek with an old cane pole rigged with a simple hook, sinker and cork. My can of worms carefully dampened and forgotten as I sat back in the shade and read Hemingway.  

I enjoyed holding this old magazine again with its beautiful cover. This was back when most of the magazines still used illustrators and insisted they hand paint original cover art suitable to the season of the year. Spring and Summer you'd find boats and boys and men with fishing gear, raging and dramatic scenes of fighting the big one. Fall and Winter it was wildlife; deer and bear and of course, the mighty Whitetail Deer with Nimrod Jones and his Winchester. I loved best the bird scenes though, flushed coveys of Bobwhites or Grouse with Shotgun Bob ready for his double.

I remember when Robert Ruark's serialized, The Old Man and The Boy,' ran monthly in (I think) Field & Stream. I still break out my first edition of the story in hardback, ever so often, and read and remember when life was simple. Robert's rest came in Spain.

Another writer of the day was Ted Trueblood. Ted's articles. in Sports Afield, spanned years. Each month he'd take me camping or fishing or packing the wild wilderness of the west on hunts for elk and moose.

There were many others, far too many for my now tepid mind to remember. But I still have a few of these old magazines, my memories in sweet scented aged paper, to remind me.

Think I'll keep my last few remaining copies. They are not just old magazines.


From The Beginning

I guessed her age at about nine, maybe ten, khaki pants with a white shirt, short hair slightly windblown. The bus had just pulled away.

My shop is located on a very busy street across from a large city park. Her school bus stops on the corner.

My last customer had just walked out the door when I saw her walk to the corner and slump against the chain link fence.

Thirty minutes later she was still there. I know why it bugged me. She isn't much older than my granddaughter, and my little one is my heart.

So, I stood guard, walked outside. I conceal carry. She was safe.

Every few minutes she would stand and walk to the edge of the street and glance first one way then the other. Hoping, waiting. She, at least to me, appeared worried.

I have a bench in front of my shop. I tried to appear like an older man just taking a nap, when all I really wanted to do was walk over and give her a hug and tell her it was fine and I was sure mom or dad would be there soon,  but you and I both know I couldn't do that.

Forty two minutes later she was crying when the dusty gray car turned in and she climbed in the back.

At least for a while she had been under my personal protection.

Some parents are just assholes.

(Note: re-posted as requested)