"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Mother's Day story and journey--Part 2


(My annual pilgrimage to Mom's grave comes Sunday. Part two of this short story begins a week of memories, some factual, some fictional.) 
Almost noon, just about on time to the southern Oklahoma cemetery--although he was never late.

"Mama, mama, you were so special, never complaining
"Regrets, regrets , Mama. You’d be proud of the kids, if not me after all that’s happened.”
"No wonder I stay away," he thought. "It keeps the memories in the back of my head where they're far away....
"Mama, mama, I loved you so much,  but, but...”
He slowed down before turning from the pavement onto the gravel ruts between the freshly mown grass, leading up between the concrete posts to the cemetery. Idling upward, he could hear the gravel crunch  beneath the tires. He could see his brother's station wagon already on the hill, his silhouette leaning against the fender, waiting.
The cemetery perched on top of the prairie hill, and there were no trees in the newer section. It overlooked the creek bottom  and town, shimmering in the heat, a mile  below, and the wind never seemed to stop.
His brother waved, and he rolled down the window, letting the May humidity blast his senses. The smell of cut grass and alfalfa blew through the window  as he pulled up beside the station wagon.
"Yo, bro, good to see you," said his brother, standing up and reaching for the handle. His brother was a little taller than he, and a little heavier, but he  suddenly saw how much he looked like their mother--the rounded chin, long flat cheeks, thin lips and high forehead.
"Brother, it's been too long," he said as he got out of the car, grabbed his hand and pulled his brother toward him for a brief, if solid hug.
"Yeah, it has, but you're the one who's been distant.”
"Please, no sermons, I've had a million of them…”
"The years, the years"
"No, no sermon intended. I just resent how you've withdrawn from the times we used to get together. We're all we've got left, and we're not going to be like our uncles and not speak to each other for the rest of our lives."
"Damn, I guess it's easier to go it alone--I know we're all we've got left of Mom and Dad--and I don't want to lose that either."
"You still believe that?"
" Yes, I do…the years, the years.”
" Know that bro, but that doesn't mean we can't still get together. Now let's go look at the grave. Did you bring the flowers?"
"No, I was late and in too much of a hurry."
"That's one thing about you that hasn't changed," he said, as he turned and walked toward the grave.
+++
Tomorrow--photos and memories

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