A Speck Of Green – Part 1 (Looking for Dad)

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(Life is made of a collection of memories and good stories.)

Steve drove down a lonely lane, a familiar lane, but not of recent familiarity. It was of times long past, from when a boy. There at the dead-end of the lane was a leveled pile of rubble. Trees, tall and stately graced and surrounded where once a house stood.

It was a reminder of good times, of pleasant times, of simple times. A time when he was the apple of his dad’s eye. A time before he father’s storm of doubt, failure, and rejection.

Beyond the trees and rubble was a newer home; ranch style and well-kept. Scattered in the nearby was construction equipment, a few sheds, a 250 gallon fuel tank and chained to it a barking pit bull raged.

Steve poked and kicked around the rubble of a vacant lot. He looked up as he heard someone approach from a nearby house. It was a man in jeans, and flannel shirt and holding a double barrel shot-gun.

“What ya doin’ here?”

“I’m Steve Gooding. A house stood here a long time ago,” Steve said. “It’s where I lived as a boy.”

“Didn’t ask for your name. Didn’t you read the sign, ‘No Trespassing.’”

“I was about to knock on your door,” Steve said. “But I wanted to poke around first.”

“Well ya didn’t and I want ya off my property.”

“Sure,” Steve said. “I used to live here as a boy. Before I go do you remember a cement bench that stood about right here?”

“Yeah, now get the hell off my property. I got equipment all over. If people ain‘t tryin’ to steal it they‘re siphoning my gas. Ole Spark will gnaw your leg off if ya try to get some gas.”

“If you give me a chance to find it I’ll buy it from you,” Steve said.

“That bench must be pretty important to you.”

“It just holds a memory,” Steve said. “It’s not much of a memory, but it’s my memory. When I was a little boy my dad helped me with a little project. It wasn’t much, but I remember it and it seems pretty big to me now.”

“How old were you?”

“I think I was 5 or 6,” Steve said. “Look, you can hold that gun on me if you let me look around.”

“Go ahead and look around. Damn thing ain’t loaded anyway.”

Larry extended his hand and they shook hands

“Larry Snyder,” he said. “Glad to meet you, Steve. Ahem, minus the shot-gun.”

“Go ahead,” Larry said. “Look around. And if ole Spark gets loose he’s more likely to like you to death. But don’t try to get some gas. He’s very territorial and he thinks it belongs to him. I got to give him a steak ta pump gas for myself. Take your time.”

Larry walked back to the house and Steve scraped away and probed with a 3 foot long 2×4. He must have worked near an hour. Finally he gave up and tossed the board aside.

Larry returned from his house. “Find what you were looking for?”

“Nah,” Steve said. “Needle in a haystack,” Steve mumbled. “Maybe there are memories not worth uncovering. Maybe that’s the lesson. Thanks, Mr. Snyder. I won’t be bothering you anymore. It was just an old bench.”

“From the looks of things I probably got a good twenty years on you, so I’m going to pass something on,” Larry said. “What you did here today was not look for a bench, but you looked for your father and that’s a good thing. Believe me, Steve, men are always looking for their fathers.”

“Yeah,” Steve said. “You’re exactly right. Thanks for sharing that with me. It helps me a lot. I’ll be seeing ya.”

(Continued tomorrow.)

(Posted as 365 Daily Prompts)

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