Tag Archives: short stories
Wisdom is sometimes allusive, I find myself learning some of life’s greatest lessons when I least expect it or in some cases when I don`t even know it. Sometimes when we are not looking for it or thinking about it, wisdom presents itself to us. It is sometimes laid at our feet in disguise, looking like a stone when in fact it is a pearl of great price.
There is a store I stop at quite often. The store is an old country store that is family owned and has been for decades. This old store sets nestled back in a little curve on a beautiful mountain country road. The front of the store has the old “Mountain Dew” drink signs, old tools, horse saddles, and all that you would expect to see at such a store. There is an old church pew in the front that the locals use to chew the fat in the early mornings and late evenings. The old bench has names carved in it, bubble gum stuck to it, and the burn marks of cigarettes and cigars.
Most of the time when I come to the store I can expect to see “Buck” an elderly black man who lives about two mile up the mountain. Buck is a sweet old man and I love to listen to his stories when I have time. I sometimes just sit and listen to the stories of the past and his views on life. Since I was a boy I have always loved elderly people and I love to hear their stories. Little did I know that buck was about to lie a pearl of wisdom at my feet that I am thankful I understood.
Buck began to tell me a story that morning about his daily walks to the store and the beauty of God’s creation along the way. He said that God had given him the gift of discernment as a young man and that he trusted the gut feelings it gave him in his life. He went on to say that these gut feeling were almost always right and had saved his life on some occasions and on other occasions had at least saved him heartache. He said at the beginning of the week he had a feeling there was a bag of money on the side of the road that he would find. He said “ I don`t know if I needs it or wat I wud do with it if I found it, I just felt like the lord was tellin me ta look fur it”.
He said he walked the two miles every day looking at the ground on the side of the road. He said he only looked up so watch a passing car or to see how close he was to the store. Every day the same routine looking searching but not finding this bag that was supposed to be there. Finally buck said it hit him that sometimes his discernment was not right and maybe he had just made a mistake. He then told me something that has stuck in my head to this day. Buck said “ I finally realized I spent my days lookin fur the money and had missed all a Gods beautiful sites, I spent all my time searchin fur somethin that wasn`t there and missed what was right in front of me”.
I thought about what buck had said for days, I realized the message for me was clear. When I take my focus off God and become obsessed with something, and loose my focus; I will miss the beauty of Gods gifts that are all around me daily.
There is nothing as painful as the reality of dark deep loneliness, and that is how LeAnn felt that cold winter day as she waited for the news. Leann had been so close to her grandmother and now that she was in the hospital she didn`t know what she would do. Leann had no real father in her life and her mother didn`t seem to care. It all started back in July when LeAnn was out of town with her grandmother and she was complaining of a horrible pain in her head. They cut the trip short and headed home early.
As the car pulled away from LeAnn’s house she already missed her grama, she hoped that grama was ok as she lay down to take a nap. The next day she was told by her mother that grama was admitted to the hospital and that she would take her to see grama after work. Later that afternoon Leann watch the clock and wondered where her mother was; 6 o`clock…….6:15……..6:45, and still LeAnn waited. Leann walked outside and sat on the porch; she began to think back to her fond memories of grammas’ house. One of her favorite times was at thanksgiving when grama always made her favorite peach cobbler, she missed her so bad. Suddenly her mother’s car pulled in and hit the bush next to the garage; LeAnn knew that her mom was drunk again.
Leann ran off the porch and down the street as her mother screamed obscenities at her telling her to come back. Leann knew that something was wrong with grama she felt it deep in her soul and she had to see her. As she walked down the street and cried an older women was coming toward her and stopped her; the old women asked her if she was ok and LeAnn told her about her gramma and fell on her shoulder and cried. The old women took her home to her house and gave her hot chocolate and to LeAnn’s surprise she had peach cobbler. As they talked the women told LeAnn not to worry that her gramma would be ok in the end and that she was headed for the kingdom.
Leann asked the women what she meant by “the kingdom”. The old women told her the story of Jesus of Nazareth and how he had come to heal the broken hearted and set free the captive hearts. The women asked her if she knew about this Jesus and LeAnn said she had heard gramma talk about him, but said she just never went to church with her gramma. That night LeAnn got on her knees with the old women and prayed; she felt more at peace than she had ever felt before and she knew somehow that things would be ok. Leann felt a deep sense that no matter what she would see gramma again and she fell fast asleep as the old women stroked her hair.
Leann woke up the next day and she was in her own bed; she jumped up and looked at the clock…..it was 9 AM. She ran to the kitchen and picked up the phone and called her mother and asked her about her gramma. Leann dropped the phone as her mother told her the news……..her gramma was gone, she had died from an aneurism that night. Leann remembered what the old women had told her the night before, and she lay down on the couch and cried. As LeAnn lay on the couch she heard a knock on the door…….she slowly looked up and saw the old women’s face looking in. Leann got up and let her in, then fell into her arms sobbing.
The old women prayed for her as she lay in her lap on the couch “father god have mercy on this your child, give her your peace and surround her with your holy spirit…..amen”. The women stayed with LeAnn and told her about the kingdom and how happy her gramma would be, that she had a new life and would never hurt again. She told LeAnn about her mother and father and how they were in the kingdom and she would see them again. Leann began to feel happy for her gramma and once again a peace fell over her and she no longer felt alone. The old women gave LeAnn a bible that seemed very old and special to the women. Leann told her she would read it every day and treasure it for life. The old women hugged her and told her she must go home, her work was done and she was in need of rest. She told LeAnn if she ever needed her again, to just get on her knees and pray, and she would come and see her and comfort her again. Leann thought what the women said was a bit odd but said she would and the old women left.
Leann never saw her again; she tried to remember where the women’s house was but couldn`t quite seem to remember. She searched for the women many times over the years and was never able to find her house. Leann grew up and became a children’s Sunday school teacher in her church; she never forgot the old women who comforted her at her time of need and told her about Jesus. Leann spent the rest of her life telling people about the kingdom and how they too could find the way there.
The west was hard for most men: The rugged terrain and hot sun blazing down without mercy; but not for wade, he was just hard, plain hard to the core. Wade never cared about nothing; no family, no women , and no cause. Wade was never one to join anything or give a damn about company, he liked being alone and he loved the trail. He loved a good cup of black coffee over a fire and piece of salt covered jerky. Wade loved his pipe, and a good drink of whiskey and he didn`t mind makin his livin killin men.
He was on his way to Yuma to find some dude that was in the way of some cattle baron`s waterin hole. What did he give damn about cattle or expanding the west; but hell ,there was money in it for wade in the form of getting rid of problems. He laid down that night, drank his last sup of wiskey, and put his pipe out; tomorrow was gonna be a long ride.
The next mornin wade loaded up his pack horse lit his pipe and hit the trail. Wade had killed some 13 men as best folks could remember, and this one had a good price on his head. The cattle baron told wade he`d pay $5000 to see this man dead; $2500 up front and the other half when the job was done. Hell ,Wade could retire after this one.
Wade rode in to the outskirts of Yuma that evenin, he wasn`t much for bein seen, he kinda liked layin low in a new town with a job that needed doin; his kinda work didn`t need no extra attention. Wade spent the next two days scoutin out the dudes place; learnin his habits and lookin for his chance to take care a things. Wade noticed the dude went out to the back side of the barn every morning about 6am. It looked to wade like a grave site from where he was watchin but he couldn`t quite tell. Wade decide to make his move the next morning, he`d be awaitin for the dude just behind the barn in an old brush pile.
Wade was fast as lighnin with his colt and always liked to give the man he was killin a chance to draw. Wade told a feller one time it kinda made things right in his mind after it was done. The one thing on this job that was dif`rnt was this was a family man and Wade was more use t`a killin trail bums, gunfighters, an cowboys. Wade didn`t much care tho cuz this one was payin enough to let him retire.
Wade saw the dude comin out to the grave site bout quarter ta six that morning; he waited till the dude got bout 20 paces from the grave and wade jumped out, stood up straight, and looked him dead in the eye. The dude froze, lookin damn scared and said “ can I help ya mister?” Wade answered back and said “ sorry to tell ya friend, your in the way a progress and I gotta get ya outta the way”. The dude stood and looked at wade for what seemed like hours; he knew he had to draw, but all he could think of was his young son.
What wade didn`t know was that he lost his wife a few weeks back when the baron sent out some cowboys to take care of business; seems one of the men made a mistake and shot the dudes wife instead. They`er boy was all the dude had left ta live fur. Now here he was ……starring straight down the barrel of colt 45 and no chance a getting out of it without a fight.
BANG!!………the sound of a gun blazed through the early morning air……..and suddenly Wade tilted over and fell to the ground. The dude stood shocked and froze in his tracks; who…what….suddenly he heard a voice say: “ paw….are you ok?” The dude swung around and there was his boy standin there with a Winchester lowered down. They ran to each other and dropped the iron they both held, they embraced, it was over, the stranger was dead.
I been a sheriff in Yuma for 20 years all told. I seen a lot a bad men come and go. I aint never heard a Wade before he come through, but I learnt his story from others who knew him. The one thing an outlaw with a fast gun better never under-estimate in these parts; is the love of a family, the love between father and a son. That young boy took down one of the meanest SOB`s these parts has ever known, love knows no fear and love will stand up to all things. love will rule the day.