Tuesday, July 3, 2012

2 (pt. 1)

The gentle reverberations under foot could be felt, but the first thing to be seen was the cloud of dust. The weary man took note by raising his downcast head just slightly. He continued his metered walking towards the oncoming cloud.

Atop the racing horse the young boy was barely hanging on. The dirt flew in his eyes and through his squinted, tearful eyes. He could just make out the world flopping back and forth, up and down around him. He had grabbed a handful of the horses mane when it originally reared up, spooked. When it darted off in the uncontrollable gallup the boy dug in his heels and grabbed for whatever he could. As he bounced around like a piece of popcorn on the back of the speeding horse he didn’t have time to think. That’s what happens when you are scared. You are just scared. And nothing else. But now, some minutes later, he had wrapped his mind around the situation.

He was on a wild, speeding horse. He was barely staying on it, but also had no way of getting off. And he didn’t know how to stop it. He wished he at least had a saddle.

As the horse came over the ridge of the dirt road, the boy could just make out a tall figure. Oh no! The boy braced for the oncoming collision.

The horse did not turn away, but barreled down on the man in the road. As it came within reach, in one simultaneous movement, the man in the road dropped his cloth bag and wrapped two enormous arms around the horse. The man’s feet plowed into the earth. He hugged the great chest and neck of the horse, first slowing it and then stopping it in its tracks.

The boy felt the first contact with the man and then the sudden deceleration. He was thrust forward when the horse’s momentum met this immoveable force. He shut his eyes tight and only opened them when he realized the horse was now standing still. Gently rubbing the horse’s nose, the giant of a man stood, shushing the horse softly.

He had not been run over.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


The old man nestled so far back in his chair he nearly disappeared.

“Bring me a cup of coffee, little one.”

His eyes closed like a contented cat as he shifted his rump around, easing still further into the great plush chair.

“And I’ll let spin one more before your folks get here…”

The little girl bounced into the kitchen, dolopped the appropriate amount of Costa Rican blend into the filter, poured the water and switched on the automatic coffee maker. She executed all these actions in a swift, professional way. Uncle Bert let her make the coffee when she came over and she had done it many times. She listened to it whirr and then begin to drip. The drippy-drop sound was accompanied by a warm woody smell as the coffee brewed. It was the smell of both mornings and evenings at Uncle Bertholdt’s house.

In the beginning, Madison was fascinated by her uncle’s house. She visited about twice a year when her parents were off at business conferences.

Madison’s folks kept a clean house, but many things were scattered about. It wasn’t that the house was messy, but every available surface space was covered, giving the impression of untidiness. Stacks of paper, mail, coupons, receipts and on and on sat next to glass figurines, decorative plates, bouquets of fake flowers and countless other random items competing for room on every shelf, table, and countertop.

Uncle Bert - she called him Uncle Bert for short - kept a different kind of house. First, it was rather small and plain. He kept very few things on the walls and almost nothing on any horizontal surface. Uncle Bert seemed to really enjoy the few belongings he had and took very good care of them. So, in a way, Uncle Bert's place was like a cozy museum.