For weeds in tight spots, I use an old folding grape knife we brought from the farm. It was given to my father back in the Seventies as an expression of thanks by a man for letting him work for a short time to meet a few immediate bills. If I remember correctly, his employment lasted two or three days, and was ended not by my father, but by the man himself. The man was on the tall side and thin, and had roots in Oklahoma. I used the knife yesterday to wrest a new crop of weeds from the cracks and seams in the driveway, and then along the gutter where the street meets the sidewalk. The sidewalk itself is mossy and in places turning to rubble. Every time I use the knife, I think of where it came from. I think about the man, and I think about my father. I don’t remember what the man looked like, only his general aspect. He was neither humble nor proud, not particularly honest, but certainly not corrupt to the core, friendly, and slightly reserved. I think he was probably forty-five or fifty. I don’t remember what he drove, or if he drove. He might have walked. The farm was close to town. But it was obvious he was just passing through. Aren’t we all, though? Aren’t we all?
April 4, 2019
Long Time Passing
Said the man, I am storyteller, story, and listener all in one.
As am I, a voice replied. It was his own, and it was not his own.
There is a field of flowers there now.
Recently Banned Literature, May 17, 2018