Tony Wayne Brown
Fifteen-year-old Jess Fredrick, his beagle Molly, and the others got picked up along the winding dirt road by Zeb Vance, oldest of the group at seventeen, the rest all sixteen. Excitement was in the air to them, and the game they sought were rabbits that would mean food on the tables in their cheaply-built Plymouth Coal houses, squatting on the high bank overlooking the Kanawha River. "Jenny Linds," folks called them, little more than barns with rusty tin roofs.
Jerry McCrary--with matching red hair and eyebrows--rode up front with Zeb. Jess and his cousins, Robert and Paul, enjoyed the fresh air from the back of the rusty '38 Dodge pickup, sitting on the pen holding the dogs, which walked in anxious circles.
A fine day in the hills of West Virginia it was to the friends heading toward Hawk Hollow for a carefree day of hunting like every November Saturday, brightly-colored autumn leaves scattering behind the truck. A robin glided from a pine tree to the roadside.
At a stage in life when my friends and their husbands were buying second homes or visiting their adult children, I was starting over, going through a divorce that required me to sell my house and most of its contents. Whatever I chose to keep had to fit into a fifty square-foot storage locker, a size chosen based on how much I was willing to pay rather than how much space I needed for the remnants of over thirty years of married life. Each time I slid aside the mesh grate, unlocked the padlock, and rolled up the corrugated metal door of the storage unit, I was assaulted by the exhalation of the memories accumulated within. And each time I added a box to storage, I removed another that I realized I couldn’t afford to keep.
Though I’d jettisoned so many formerly beloved objects, my storage unit was nearly overflowing with items my sons, both young men, had asked me to preserve for them. And while I (and even they) knew that by the time they had homes of their own, they likely wouldn’t want their old football jerseys or fingerboard skate parks, I wouldn’t preemptively impose that forfeiture upon them. After all, the divorce, the sale of our home, and the dissolution of the family unit were losses for them, too.
One Monday morning in a small house on a quiet street in a town in West Cork Ireland, Mrs Kelly woke up, or did she. When she opened her eyes, she realized something was wrong. The room was strange, there was a lighted candle on either side of the bed, and her rosary beads were wrapped around her hands. At the side of the bed her fifty five year old son was kneeling, beads in his hands, tears in his eyes and reciting the rosary. ‘I’m dead’ she thought. At her age she knew that some morning she would not wake up in this world. ‘But why am I not in heaven? Something is wrong. She moved her hands and legs. ‘I am alive!’ she shouted, ‘Larry, thank Jesus I’m alive’, but he didn’t hear her. She reached over and touched him .He didn’t react. She got out of the bed slowly, and very carefully walked over to him. She hugged him saying ‘my darling boy your mother is alive’. Still, she got no reaction. She walked around the room and watched him praying and saw tears were running down his cheeks. She cried out again, ‘I’m here Lar!’, but he still couldn’t hear her. ‘I must be a ghost’ she thought, ‘but why? Jesus help me I’m stuck between this world and the next.’
Samuel Clemens had problems