Friday, June 10, 2011
Silver Streaked Skipper
Let hills be covered in white as far as one can see, Pale Beardstongue, out on the prairie.
Yes, one might find a cactus if you look hard enough.
The time had come for his friend to go back home. It was the first time he had so enjoyed this home away from home and getting to share its beauty with someone outside of his family. His daughter loved the company and wished she could stay longer, but her life out on the prairie called out for her return. He watched as she walked down the hallway to go through the security and wished he could tell her how he had enjoyed her coming more. He wondered if they would ever see each other again, he knew there still was a tough road to follow. On the ride back he and his daughter reminisced through all the good times and through some of the stories shared. A storm was brewing in the west and he pulled out his cell phone and told her he had it on jokingly. She reminded him of the time his shed landed all over the yard during one bad storm and he could have sat under the house for days before someone would come by. He laughed and said a neighbor always called or stopped by when there were big winds. He said he never had ever thought what would happen when the clouds brewed, he was usually happy to have the rain to grow his grass for the cows. A smile spread across his face and he remembered his dream out in the rain and returning to see his wife waiting on the porch as she always did. A cool mountain breeze stirred past him and picked up this moment, carrying it to all whom would listen.
Good times are hard to end and it was sad for a few days not to have their special guest. He called her everyday and told her what he was thinking about and she shared her thoughts also. She rode out and watched his herd, telling them he was always thinking of them. There was always something funny shared when they talked, a certain routine both had formed becoming friends. His daughter asked if there was love in the air and he often shrugged this off and never really told her much. She had filled a large void in his life for companionship, but he still loved his wife and felt there never would be a replacement. She had been a hard act to follow, and he never shared his trust with anyone so deep in his life. He was wearing the shirt his friend had chosen for him that day and decided that would be a good excuse to call her. They talked for a long time and at the end of the call she told him how much she had missed their times together and being with both he and his daughter. He smiled and told her how empty things were without her being there and the words came out telling her he loved her. She was unable to answer, a bit startled and she replied she always loved them both as well. When he hung up he was shocked at what he had said and hoped it wasn’t being too pushy for her.
He asked his daughter to take him for a drive the next day and during the conversation he told her both of his dream and then the last phone conversation with his friend. She told him it was nice to share good thoughts and wished she had someone telling her such lovely thoughts. He grabbed her hand and told her he loved her as much as he had loved her mother and treasured all their times together. This was like taking a load off his chest and now he wished he had shared these thoughts with her more often, a tear was going down both sides of her cheeks. He asked if he said something wrong and she wiped her cheeks and said it was one of the nicest things he had said to her. Her face and reaction reminded him of her mother and he told her so. They both were quiet until they got out past the city sprawl. She pulled over near the herd he liked to visit and he did a chipmunk call. She looked and asked him what that was for and he said perhaps their little friend would come out and join in the fun. He pulled a couple cereal biscuits out of his pocket and showed her the treat he brought for the chipmunks just in case. Both bellowed a call to the cattle and laughed when they turned to look.
No chipmunks came around and he grabbed a few more biscuits when they got home to take on the porch. A light drizzle came in and he hoped to see his little friend. Up across the porch one scampered, smelling the treat and taking off with it to eat. He chattered his call at it and his daughter brought out a few coffees to enjoy. A pair of chipmunks appeared and headed for the pieces of cereal. Both he and his daughter made their call and the frightened little rodents scampered away with goodies in their cheeks. They both were laughing at the other and she went to get the phone to call their friend. When she was inside she heard a crash of a mug and looked out to see what had happened. Her Dad sat limp and both arms hanging at his side. A friendly hello was at the other end of the phone and she asked her to hold on a minute, something had happened. She rushed out and felt for a pulse, but nothing showed, She ran back to the phone and told her what had happened and said she would call back. Calling the emergency number she tearfully told them what had happened. Hanging up she went and held her Dad’s hand until help arrived. They seemed like forever to arrive, and began taking vitals while the other medic asked about his condition. She said he had not really said there was any problem anymore, and now knew what he meant. A smile was still on his face as they wheeled him away in the light mist falling on the land.