Hello, Benjamin from Brother’s Campfire here!
Gather ‘Round and I will spin you a tale.
Brett saddled the rented gelding and rode North. There were miles of country to cover and a mechanical coach wouldn’t cut it.
They spooked the wildlife, and something about a coal-fed machine just didn’t feel right; it was technology for youngsters.
Alone, a prairie fire of thoughts burned brightly in Brett’s mind. He missed his wife and daughter.
While the visit with Amelia, his daughter, was amazing, he felt he was imposing by staying around too long.
Her husband, Mr. Blumenthal was an honorable, hardworking man who attended church on Sunday. He needed to practice what he preached.
It had been a grip of Sundays since he had listened to a preacher man.
He relived the visit in his mind.
Amelia and Mr. Blumenthal were saving up for a property in the suburbs, but real estate was expensive.
Pulling Mr. Blumenthal off to the side as not to embarrass him, he asked if he could donate to the effort and he consented.
He couldn’t ask for much more in a son in law and he was proud of his grown-up little girl.
Mr. Blumenthal had been inquisitive.
“Sir, upon your return from Tolba, I noticed you are going by Hazelcup and not your given name.
” That’s right. Mr. Blumenthal. Names and titles are mere words if not lived up to. I imagine my surname was handed to me by some noble generations ago.”
“So you changed your name?
“Hazel is the color of my eyes, a striking difference from the natives of Tolba. That’s what they called me from the moment I got there.”
“Sometimes, the natives have an undesirable method of saying hello that sounds a lot like a goodbye to the untrained ear. “
“One day, I made more than a hatful of fire and the natives saw the smoke from miles away. Naturally, they wanted to trade for my belongings and the currency was physical. I laid a few out with my Theodore .44, but one of them struck me with a war club right on the top of my skull. “
“Waking up naked and mighty thirsty I followed the tracks they left to their village and asked for some water. “
“I suppose they were a little put off that I was undressed, but I didn’t have any clothing at the moment.
They stared at me until I was all kinds of embarrassed and brought me some water.”
“There was a whole lot of carrying on in a big tent and the chief came out with his arms crossed. He stared at me as well and they gave me my clothes back.”
“They sent me on my way with my horse and a bit of grub. My head hurt something awful. Finding a stream to wash up in, I looked at my reflection and found my skull had been caved in a bit by the blow. That is why they call me Hazelcup.”
Mr. Blumenthal laughed.
“Brilliant story sir, but your head looks just fine.”
Brett Hazelcup smiled as he recalled his son-in-law’s reaction when he removed the modified hairpiece. Young people were so sensitive.
As he came closer to his destination, tears welled. Gathering himself, he dismounted and removed his wide-brimmed hat, turning it in his hands as he went.
How he loved her. His steps were steady and measured, a lump in his throat, heart beating wildly, the pace increased and he pushed through overgrown rose bushes and spindly trees grown too close together.
“Amaya, how I love you. The first time we met, I knew I would marry you and give you my name. I was so awkward and nervous.”
Brett kneeled and placed his head in his hands.
“I remember. I am still ashamed of it, but my first words were sincere.”
“You’re as pretty as a shimmering shrimp and lithe as a La Longi light pole.”
Ghaa! I am still embarrassed.
I wish God you could come back so I could say all the things I came up with to tell you how much I love you. “
Brett sobbed unabashed tears. “Amaya! Why did you have to go so soon? Why couldn’t I have come?”
After a good while of sitting, Brett got up and looked through his saddlebags, and pulled out a drinking mug. From his canteen, he poured a little water and returned to the headstone. From a notebook, he tore off a sheet and rolled it in his hands.
“Amaya, I remember calling and your dad answered the door. He was not enthusiastic and I suppose father’s never are. He just stared into my soul with piercing eyes when we talked.”
“You made tea and rolled a paper to slurp it up with and had me try.
It was the funniest thing I ever did. Dad never cracked a smile. “
“When he gave you away on our wedding day he smiled ear to ear. In fact, he chuckled.”
“Don’t break her heart, son,” he said. It was then I learned his smiles were serious and a bit uncomfortable I might add. “
“He didn’t know it would be you who did the heartbreaking. “
Brett saddled up and headed north.