Cloverdale Picnic (www.midbarrach.com) date unknown
“Been coming here to Cloverdale for a while now, Taklishim.” Alan Tupper stood in front of the abandoned general store, almost all that was left of the ghost town in southern New Mexico.
“You have been my good friend since you were a boy.”
“I’m twenty-six now and getting ready to get out of the service.”
“I thought you liked the Army.”
“Talking to you every year since that last reunion changed me.”
“You have never taken life unjustly.”
“But ol’ Captain Tupper did.”
© Sue Vincent
Tom Allen lived in his Dad’s old cabin five miles west of New Mexico State Highway 107 along about twenty miles south of Magdalena. The retired astronomer stepped out behind his place and put his left hands on the branch of a dead tree. Figured he’d cut it down for firewood, though he had plenty already for the winter.
“Looks like we’ll be getting some rain from the west, ol’ girl.” He patted Sally’s head, and the golden retriever nuzzled her snout against the leg of his jeans.
He’d been born in a little town south of Albuquerque sixty-six years ago last Friday, so being dressed in his old Stetson, a plaid shirt, faded blue denim jeans and high leather boots seemed normal to him, but the old normal, since he’d spent most of his adult life in places like Pasadena’s JPL, Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, and the Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii, not to mention in the halls of academia. His colleagues at Stanford and MIT would never understand.
“Storm’s getting closer. We’d better head back in, especially before you see some rabbit you want to be chasing.”
Sally barked with ascent and then happily followed the old man back into the house.