Monday, May 10, 2010
Prairie Story 10
He sat by the only phone at the biological station, waiting for his daughter to call. It had been a long time since they had talked. They had last met in Vienna, Austria for a few days, then off to Salzburg. Next came Venice, Italy to celebrate her sister’s birthday for a few days and then to a tiny fishing village on the Italian Rivera just to relax from all the travel. The days went too fast, and time faded away. One night at dinner they offered complimentary wine and served his youngest first. She looked with big eyes, never having sampled this and he told her to enjoy as they did in this country. They parted their separate ways both going opposite directions and had not been together as a family since. The phone rang and it was his oldest daughter. His heart sighed and he listened to one of the most beautiful voices he had heard in a long time. It had gotten lonely out on the prairie and she offered comfort each time they talked.
The next day he wished he could share his thoughts with someone, but everyone was gone. A knock at his door surprised him, rarely did he get any visitors. A cook had stopped hearing that he had offered to take family pictures for anyone before he left the station. It kind of hit him like a lead balloon to hear of someone else having a good family. He replied in a rather soft tone. She asked if it was an inconvenience and he explained his call the night before and how empty he still felt. She told him this had happened to her before she remarried, and now had an expanded family sometimes more than she needed. She invited him to a picnic on the weekend and he tried to enjoy the company, remembering good memories as he watched everyone at play.
The next two weeks slipped by quickly and soon he was on his porch toasting the finish of the season. Living on a lake had its advantages and he suddenly realized he would miss it dearly. Not cooking for a summer was kind of nice and going without television helped him stay busy in many other ways, enjoying the great outdoors. The small people who had helped him while he was here had all become a separate family and friends to him. He would never see many ever again, some living in far away places and others graduating not knowing where their intellect would take them. It was here that he realized happiness in one’s life is one of the largest endeavors we try to fulfil. Not only do we need to maintain it; we also need to expand on it to make this world a better place for all to live.
He played with his toes in the sand, lying on a beach watching the various people surrounding him. This was a Sunday routine with his two favorite lab girls, but today one of their husbands joined them. The girls were trying to even out their tans, since you wore long pants and lots of sunscreen working on the prairies. This was also a big resort area, so the boats pulling up were huge. Out jumped the beautiful people in all shapes and sizes. You often wondered what they did to afford such nice toys; but then again this was a rich agricultural state, so many probably farmed. He had went out to look for a home up near the lab, but was shocked at the costs to enjoy this fantastic area. The realtor said to listen for divorces or deaths to get a good buy. He thought he needed to meet the widow or divorcee, and hopefully one that liked to bicycle. That’s what he did in his free time, when not out fishing. In an area like this, you could be part of the resort crowd or easily ignore it. Fishing was always fun, but even better when a friend’s three kids joined him. The two youngest would tire early and walk up the hill home, but the oldest stayed eager to learn more about the sport. He told him how he caught more by only taking what he needed and releasing most they caught. We had fun comparing whose “bassbuster” was bigger, always catching a lot each evening. Sometimes we took a few to his mother who would cook them for us with a red onion salsa and serve them with plantain fixed as in her native country. One day before the children were to go back home, he gave them two dozen worms so they could fish all of their last day. He saw them an hour later, and asked what they had caught. Not many, they threw all the worms in at the fish, bidding them farewell. A breeze brought forth a distant song and verse, murmuring the prairie song in his ears.
Who are we
To be so free
And still not