Friday, December 9, 2016

Excerpt from “Indelible”: Colorado 1999

Excerpt from “Indelible” (memoir in progress):

In 1999, my mom and my nephew Jason went with us. Jim was a Michael Martin Murphy fan and owned every audio tape Murphy had released. As we drove down I-70 through the wheat fields and sunflowers of Kansas, Jim insisted on listening to these tapes.

As Jim napped in the back seat, my mom looked at me and said, “You know I always liked Michael Martin Murphy.”

“Me too,” I said.

“But…after listening to him for hours and hours, I don’t care if I never hear him again.”

“Me either,” I said.

Jim was becoming more eccentric. He wore sunglasses day and night and walked with a cane. He tore paper towels in half, then folded them tightly. He stuffed them in his shirt and jacket pockets making the pockets bulge and giving his chest a misshapen look. His denim jacket was covered with decorative pins. He wore a tattered Branson Veteran’s nametag that was removed only when I washed the jacket.

Jim insisted on eating cottage cheese and pineapple with every meal, including breakfast. We fixed most meals in the cabin, so he could have the food he wanted.

The cabin was a new environment, and Jim couldn’t figure out how to work the water in the shower, so I helped him. Then, I helped him dress. One morning while I took a shower, Jim walked out the door and down the road.

“Jim’s gone out the door,” mom told me.

I shut off the water, “See if Jason can catch him.”

By the time I got out of the shower and dressed, Jason and Jim came through the door.

“I didn’t know what to do, so I told him you needed to talk to him,” Jason said. “When I told him that, he turned around and came back.”

We spent our evenings on the river walk drinking large cups of flavored coffee from the MacGregor Bookstore. Jim’s favorite entertainment in Estes Park was the Lazy-B Ranch Boys’ dinner show. Jim was enthusiastic and happy.

In his hesitant speech he talked to one of the performers before the show. The man invited Jim to come behind the counter and play his guitar. Jim eagerly picked up the guitar and played a few cowboy songs. He sang the song I’m Tellin’ You Friend, I Ain’t Had a Good Day.

Copyright © December 2016 by L.S. Fisher

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