Joining the Dream, pt. 6

by: Essy Jane

The war had ended two months ago…on April 30th 1979 to be exact. I couldn’t
believe it was finally over. The death rate was high and we hadn’t won. A
lot of men were captured which didn’t make me happy. Neither side really got
anything.

We expected Luke to come home but guess what? He wasn’t coming home. I
couldn’t believe that. If that wasn’t bad enough to make your stomach churn
I don’t know what would. I couldn’t believe that he wasn’t coming home. I
couldn’t share anything with anyone. Accept Cooter of course. Maybe to Vance
in letters but lately Coy has been suspicious so I would rather not. Anyway
we didn’t get a phone call. All we received from him was a dang note:

Dear Bo,

I decided to stay in Vietnam. I really like it here. I know that it seems
like the wrong decision now but maybe someday you will understand. I have
found someone who I think would be perfect for me and I hope she feels the
same way. Her name is Cookie and her husband died.

Anyway, I love you.

Signed,

Luke

I crumpled it up and tore it to shreds. I couldn’t believe he had done that
to us. The rage inside me had filled. I didn’t want this to be the way it
was. Luke back in Vietnam and me sitting there waiting for letters for two
months. I wanted to see him again! Now he’s with Cookie! Why did he do this
to me all the time? I didn’t ever want to think about him again.

I would be the only one around. I didn’t have anyone to share my stories
with. I couldn’t tell Uncle Jesse. I just couldn’t burden him with tales
from the frontline. I couldn’t tell Coy…even if I could he wouldn’t get it.
I just didn’t know what to do. I hated Luke and I loved Luke all at the same
time. I didn’t want anything to happen to the man. It was like nothing I
could imagine.

I rushed out of the house and took out my keys to the pickup. I couldn’t
believe how mad I was. I could have killed someone at that moment. There was
only one way to solve it though. I had to see Cooter or go to Vietnam…one of
the two. Vietnam was a little out of my league. Cooter would have to do in
this case. I couldn’t believe that I was this angry. I wanted Luke back more
than anything. It wasn’t fair that he wasn’t home. I needed him. I didn’t
want to travel that far to have a heart to heart talk.

Anyway, when I got to Cooter’s he was working on Boss Hogg’s car. He looked
up at knew I was in one of my moods. I don’t know how he does it but Cooter
has a Luke quality about him. He always knew what was wrong with me…even
when I was younger. “Are you having a bad day?” Cooter asked.

“Luke ain’t coming home. I can’t believe he did this to me! I needed to talk
to someone about it. He’s not here. I can’t tell him anything and I have
always wanted him to come home. How could Luke do this to me?” I rambled.

“Slow down Bo! You know sometimes you just need to sit down and work on a
car. How about you work on Boss Hogg’s car?”

“No thanks, I don’t want to work with it today.”

“Bo, sometimes people have to make their own decisions whether they are good
or bad.”

“Well I wish he would have chosen differently.”

“You know what? I wish you would have too. I wish you would have had the
sense to stay home. I couldn’t go and drag you back though. I couldn’t
because you made your first grownup decision and it was your
responsibility.”

“You couldn’t have either.”

“Do you want to make a bet? I am crazy, I could do anything.”

“You ain’t that crazy.”

“I am too and you wouldn’t be able to prove to me otherwise. I can run drag
races better than anyone I know. I can do it dirty or clean depending on my
mood. Do you know how fun it was steeling Rosco’s car?”

“I could only imagine. You know what? You always seem to have all the right
words. That’s crazy!”

“See? I am crazy. You just proved it. Ha!”

“Cooter…thanks.”

“My garage is open everyday and you know the times.”

“Thank you…as usual you’re a great friend. I am happy we meant.”

“I am happy we did too.” Well that was the end of that. I am sure that
conversations could run way longer. But with that I was off again. I still
felt awful about Luke being gone but I couldn’t do anything about it. He was
in good hands. Cookie would take care of him if nothing else. She was good
at taking care of people. I suppose it was meant to be that way.

It took forever to get here, oh the joy of the end of school. I forgot how
horrible school can be. Not with fights or anything but with the boredom. I
was in the grade I was supposed to be in though I in no way did I ever think
that I would get this far. Being in school is almost like going through
basic training. Something about it made me happy that this was the last time
I had to do these courses. I suppose when you have done them all you would
think a person would be bored of it. I was bored of it.

My friends liked me a lot better than they used to. Sometimes they would
notice a change though. They would see that there was something different
about the Bo Duke they knew. Well I was different. I couldn’t act on
everything I did. I suppose some things were meant to be and others could be
changed.

As I said, I held my own destiny in my own hands. I chose my path and I
would continue doing so. I didn’t want anyone on this planet to tell me
otherwise. When I was faking things I felt like the biggest liar in the
world. I didn’t want to do it anymore, I couldn’t do it anymore. People were
counting on me to be a Duke. I wanted to live up to those Duke standards.

I wasn’t dumb nor should I pretend to be. Uncle Jesse was right about that
part. Something in me knew that all along. However people expected me to be
a certain way. Sometimes you would have to act that way. I promised though
that I would try and keep things as real as I could get them.

One thing that would have to stay the same is Luke coming up with all the
ideas. That was just the way the cookie crumbled for me. I wasn’t about to
change this since it was always the same way. Luke was the one who was the
smart one and I was the slow one. I could continue that act until he left
Hazzard to find a new life.

Can you believe I still haven’t been arrested yet? I have been running
moonshine over to towns and other places for the last little while. I have
almost been caught three times but never arrested. I thought the day would
come when I would be thrown in prison. Uncle Jesse tells me I shouldn’t want
to get arrested. But I have always wanted to know what its like to be in
jail.

Anyway, I never thought this day would come. Graduation was here. There was
so much to prepare for. I already had a tuxedo that Daisy made for me. You
know she is quite the little seamstress. I can’t believe how good it looks.
She told me that I had to go to the after party. I didn’t know if I should
or not. That seemed kind of childish. I would do it though because she made
that tux and it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t wear it.

Coy told me that I would be good up there giving a speech. I would not and
besides with my luck I would fall on my face. I didn’t know what else to
tell people besides I was horrible at public speaking. Except when it came
to the army that is when I was really good.

What the one thing was that really surprised I was? Well I guess I should
tell y’all. I was called into the principal’s office and guess what? “You
are valid Victorian this year,” Principal Jumbles said.

“Are you kidding me? You are telling the truth aren’t you? You have to be
kidding right?” I questioned him.

“No I am not. You have the highest test scores and the best marks. However
since you did the course again and you were doing well when you did it this
doesn’t surprise me.”

“Mr. Jumbles I earned this mark. I did my best. I didn’t cheat and I worked
harder than you could ever believe.”

“I know you did and I am proud of you.”

“This is a great honour.”

“You have earned it. I didn’t think you could do it again. Some people that
take a year off of school and come back never seem to get back into the
string of things. Considering the fact that you have been through war I
would say you have done well. I want you to give a speech.”

“No…I can’t do that.”

“You lead a unit into war didn’t you?”

“Yeah, what does that have to do with anything?”

“Bo, you have given speeches there. Now what makes you think you can’t do it
in front of parents and friends here?”

“I just can’t. There’s something inside me that can’t seem to do it. I
didn’t want to do it before and I can’t do it now.”

“You never got to meet the grade 9 gym teacher did you?”

“No I didn’t, why do you ask?”

“He’s quite the man. I am sure if I can’t convince you he could.”

“Don’t be so sure about that Mr. Jumbles. I know that you can’t persuade me
nor could he. I mean in all honesty I think I am a little bit better than
that. I can’t give speeches. I never have been able to. Not in front of
people I know anyway. You know I couldn’t do it.”

You can and you will Bo, that’s the attitude this man had. Mr. Jumbles was a
fool if he thought he could get me to speak in public. I wouldn’t be able to
do it even if my life depended on it. I couldn’t believe this guy. There was
no way in the world I would do this. I was shy. I didn’t want to public
speak anymore. I didn’t even want to look at a microphone. I guess I was
being irrational but there was a reason for it. I didn’t want to have to
impress people anymore.

He told me to just talk to this man. I didn’t even know who he was. Though
the name Mr. Williams did ring a bell so I went; I suppose it would be good
if I met another person and tell him no. There was many ways to tell a man
no. I could think of thousand reasons why I shouldn’t give that dang speech
and only three that would make me want to. I didn’t want to do this at all.

I knocked on the big brown door. I didn’t know what to expect at first when
I head a familiar voice tell me to come in. I couldn’t move at first but
still again the voice repeated for me to come in. I walked ever so slowly
and nudged the door open with my right shoulder. It opened wider and wider
until I could see the inside of the classroom. All the desks were empty and
the man stood at the teacher’s desk with his back to me.

As I walked further into the room he turned around. It was someone I never
thought I would see again. It was the same Major that escorted me to my new
unit. We talked a lot before I went there to meet my men. I couldn’t believe
this. “I didn’t think it was you Little Duke. I was sure it was your younger
brother or something,” Mr Williams said. I couldn’t believe it was him. His
hair had some greys in it and he was still a wrinkly fellow.

“It’s nice to see you too. I didn’t know that it was you…I seriously didn’t.
I am sorry you saw me out of the army. It must be weird to think that I am a
student. I shouldn’t have gone into the army in the first place,” I replied.

“Well that is all in the past. I suppose it was all for the best. What was
your rank when you left the army Bo?”

“Major…I became a major.”

“I never thought that you would make it alive with these guys. You were so
young and idiotic so it seemed. I suppose you made a hero out of yourself.”

“I did.”

“Why are you refusing a class speech? You did so well when you were talking
to your troops. It almost made me feel like I wanted to join your outfit.”

“People were killed.”

“There are always people killed.”

“I don’t know what to say to these young kids.”

“Look, I know how you must feel.”

“Do I tell them that all life is easy? It isn’t easy at all. War was
horrible and life isn’t as easy as some would think.” I was sure that he
would know that. I mean he was in that war too. Not everything was as it
seemed in life. Hey…there’s a good first line.

“You need to do this…even if it isn’t for the kids. You need to do it for
yourself Bo.”

“I will sir.” I gave him a salute for old time sakes. He was happy to salute
back and that was a good sign. “Thank you very much and don’t rat on me. If
my men knew my real age they wouldn’t have respected me at all.”

“You know what I think?”

“What?”

“I think they would have been surprised. I think that they would have
thought it was neat. You were amazing out there so I heard.”

“I was just playing soldier.”

“You played very well at it.” With that I was out of the room again. Now to
find a place to write this dang speech…but where could I figure out my
speech? I had to think of something to say besides ‘good evening parents,
teachers and fellow students’. That wasn’t a speech. I couldn’t just go up
there and tell knock-knock jokes. That wouldn’t be proper and I would be
kicked off the stage.

Well by the time I put the finishing touches on the speech it was time to
give it. Everyone was in their ropes. I looked out at the crowd and wondered
if I could do this. I was sweating and my palms were clammy. I stood up
though as they called my name. If I could get through this I could get
through anything.

“Not everything was as it seems in life. Sometimes we think our future will
be handed to us and other times we have to work extra hard to know what is
there. I am one of those who took the hard root. Please don’t do what I did.
I may be your chosen person of the day but man did I have to earn it,” I
began. As I looked out into the distance I saw someone who I thought
wouldn’t be here. Luke looked up at me and smiled as he took a seat in the
back. I wondered why he was there. “Now we are moving ahead. Nothing is
going to stop us going onto new things. We’re all growing up even though we
don’t know it. We see the different groups and how they tick. Some of us
will grow up to be lawyers and doctors while others will remain farmers.
Only you can choose your path. Don’t make the wrong choice. Try to stay on
the path that makes the most sense to you. Please remember who you are and
where you come from. Always be proud to be an American. Be proud to know
that you came from Hazzard County. Remember that everyone here still will
remember you…as time flies by. You are the class of ’79!”

The crowd cheered for me. I was so happy. I couldn’t believe I had done it.
People were giving me a standing ovation which meant the world to me. I
think that I did well. There was nothing better than to have that feeling.
As we all received our diplomas I was proud to have it…for the second time.
I could always burn my other one…then again I was proud of that one too. So
I would keep them both…I would just have to hide one.

After I threw my hat up in the air, I ran towards Luke as fast as my feet
could carry me. I had him in a hug before he could say anything to me. I
couldn’t let him get away from me in that sense. He was my cousin and he
needed that hug from me. “You said you were staying in Vietnam!” I
exclaimed. He shrugged his arms. Something was wrong though and I could see
it in his face. It wasn’t like I didn’t know about it. I could always tell
when something was bothering the guy. He was troubled. Luke was just pretty
darn upset.

“Well I came home,” Luke replied.

“Why?”

“Cookie told me that I should be here…that was after she found out I was
your cousin. She said that you needed me more than I needed her. I didn’t
understand it until I saw you up there giving your graduation speech.”

“I knew you liked me.”

“Nope…I don’t like you.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“I mean I love you…you’re like a brother to me. I thought I could avoid you
but guess what? You’re just too wonderful for that. You’re my favourite
cousin. Now tell me, what have you always wanted to happen?”

“Well I know you will think this is dumb but…I have always wanted to go to
prison.”

“I can arrange that Bo.”

Later that evening…

Rosco was doing inventory in his office. He always kept his car in front of
the police station. It was Rosco’s pride and joy. This car was given to him
by his rich Uncle Marvin Coltrane who was a smart man. He earned his money
fast. Anyway, he decided to give Rosco a sky blue 1960 Pontiac Bonneville.
Rosco adored that car more than anything else he owned.

Well of course we had to do something to get in jail. I had learned many
things from one of my men, who was an inmate, he taught me how to hotwire a
car. Now the thing is you can’t only steel a car. You have to do something
else too…kind of something to seal the deal. So of course I opened Rosco’s
car and hotwired it. Naturally Luke laughed as Rosco ran out trying to catch
me. I was left alone after that. Luke had this funny plan that I liked a
lot. I could almost hear him saying, “I tried to stop him but you know these
teenagers.”

I drove as fast as I could to the junkyard. This was going to be funny. Luke
was going to direct him in every which way except for the junkyard. Daisy
was sitting there waiting for me with that yellow and black car of hers. I
knew this would be great.

As I drove up onto the conveyor belt I got out of the car. Slowly I turned
on the machine and watched it go. How couldn’t this be good? Daisy drove me
to the front of the junkyard and told me, “You’re on your own. I don’t see
why you need to be such a big man by pulling a stupid stunt like this.”

“Well I am a man and men should be arrested at least once,” I replied.

“Maybe so but this is the most idiotic thing I have ever heard of. They call
you smart and I am now questioning how you could be.”

“Relax, drive that road runner out of here…I don’t want him to think you
helped or I will get you arrested too.”

“Well I don’t want that on your record.”

I waved goodbye to Daisy and hello to Rosco…a ten minute difference
between the two. “Where’s my car you nitwit?” Rosco asked. I looked at him
with a smile. I thought this was funny but he wasn’t laughing. I didn’t
understand why he wouldn’t be laughing…it was hilarious to me. I suppose it
wasn’t that great to him.

“Well it is no longer a car. You can go look for yourself,” I replied. He
looked over at the small blue scrap of metal just sitting there. Rosco was
almost in tears.

“Oh my baby…you weren’t that old. Why would they do this to you?”

“Don’t you mean me? I did this.”

“No…Luke had to have had a hand in it.”

“No, you’re wrong. I was all me. I am telling you. See Rosco I devised this
evil plan to spite you for…running over my bike when I was five.”

“That was a long time ago. There is no way I am going to buy that.”

“How would you know if that wasn’t my motive?”

“You weren’t alone in this action.” Why in the world wouldn’t he believe me?
I did it…I wanted to be in jail. I didn’t want Luke to be in jail beside me.
I mean he didn’t deserve to have that on his record.

“I was too. You don’t know for how long I planned this. There was no way
Luke could have been involved in a scheme such as this.”

“I am sorry but I am not going to think that you did this on your own.” I
couldn’t believe this…Luke was in trouble too. How could that happen? Geeze,
everything always blew up in my face. Poor Luke…I always got him into
trouble too. What to do? Well run away from the law of course. But I wanted
to go to prison! Dang, this just isn’t my day today is it? Okay, we had to
get Luke out.

There was something that Reggie the thief did…what was it. Out came the
cuffs, he was going to put them on me first. I kicked them out of his hand
and Luke grabbed his gun. I ended up putting him in the cuffs; he was now
officially attached to his steering wheel. Oh this was good. However we
forgot one thing…a mode of transportation. Luke came with Rosco…our truck
was back home. I seem to always forget stuff like this. Now what? Walk home?
Well I suppose we couldn’t be arrested tonight and we didn’t have much of a
choice.

However, Rosco called for back up. Before I knew it I was in prison with
Luke. Rosco was out of the handcuffs. That was fast…I didn’t think it
would go so smoothly. Rosco fumbled a few times on my rights but that’s
okay. I didn’t mind…I wanted to hear those words.

Now one more obstacle…we were going to go over Uncle Jesse’s knee. I knew
that he was going to say something to his two boys. I was going to be in big
trouble and I knew it. I could tell by the expression on his face as he
walked in. You see, as I have said, being a Duke is a big responsibility. I
was supposed to be on my best behaviour instead of being the class clown. I
missed my old job. Therefore I was going back to it slowly.

That’s the problem with being Bo Duke. I don’t want to be like anyone else.
I don’t want to be unlike anyone else either. My gifts are meant to be my
own though I can share them when it’s necessary. I wasn’t about to loose
who I was…who I became. I couldn’t loose that. Only one person could
understand that feeling and that was my inmate Luke Duke. He was the only
one that could see through me.

I could look at him and tell him of all the secrets that I had in Vietnam.
With the rest of my family I would be scared stiff. It was over and I could
tell them. However in my heart I knew I was wrong. There was something about
those experiences that would have killed them all. I decided that it was
enough to hurt them with me being gone all that time. I suppose I was wrong
but I didn’t care.

Anyway, Daisy was with Uncle Jesse almost laughing. She held it in as best
as she could. I loved the jail cell. First off I got to do a lot of
thinking. I mean it was better than sitting on the porcelain unmentionables.
Anyway, I liked it and nothing Daisy could say could make me change my mind.

There were a few bad things about jail though. First off you get to hang out
with Rosco all night long. I have better things to do than look at his face
for half a night. Secondly, you can’t just open the door. I wanted to be
left out of that consequence. I didn’t like being locked up for that reason.
I liked being able to open the door just for the reason of opening the door.

Well, back to Uncle Jesse, you could see that vein on his head pop right out
to greet me. His eyes were building and his temper must have been through
the roof. Rosco took one look at him and backed away. Uncle Jesse could
scare bulls away with this temper. I couldn’t believe he was staying sane.
I knew that we had to say something sooner or later but I would rather it be
later.

“Luke?” Uncle Jesse questioned my cousin. I could see that Luke had no fear
of the situation. I wondered if it was his marine training that made my
cousin like that. Uncle Jesse used to scare him to death sometimes.

“It was his graduation present. Only…I got caught in the middle too,” Luke
commented.

“Now I have to pay two bails. What am I going to do with you?”

“I am sorry sir…we won’t get arrested again.”

“I am sure you will so don’t promise anything you don’t intend to keep.”

“Uncle Jesse…it was my idea. I planned it all. Luke just wanted to help me
so I wouldn’t get into so much trouble. Don’t blame him…he was only helping
out a brother,” I said.

“Well Brothers, I think you need to stay in jail a couple days to get this
out of your system. You will soon learn what real boredom is. I explained
things to Rosco and he’s only making us pay damages. Now if this happens
again, these things will be put on your permanent records so I would make an
earnest effort to stay away from bars. In the mean time, enjoy the next
three days with Rosco,” Uncle Jesse stated. Well that was the end of
discussion. We were now in jail.

What was good about jail? Well not too much. I thought it would be more
daring and more…well interesting. It wasn’t though. Well besides Luke’s bad
dreams and my staying up listening to him talk in his sleep. He would always
talk about his old missions. I couldn’t believe he would do it. This is my
second day in this prison cell. I can’t stand to think of what Rosco’s
deputy is doing. His name is Lou Ralts. Now Lou was demoted to Deputy and
Rosco took his job. It was because the poor man was getting older and Boss
was sure he would break something and blame him. Lou snored like something
awful.

The best part of prison would have to be Luke talking to me about his
experiences in the war. That allowed me to take a nap without having those
horrid dreams. I suppose that was my problem. The more I talked with him the
better I felt about him. The more I told him about my feelings the less
horrified he was as well.

I suppose we needed each other. It was like a bond that wasn’t the same as
any other. We weren’t just blood relatives we were friends as well.
Sometimes that is hard to spot. I know from personal experience that
brothers don’t always get a long. Sure we have had our fights but what
normal person doesn’t? I love my cousin and would drop on a grenade for him.
I would do it for him because he means that much to me.

Daisy means the same to me though. I mean really, she’s so wonderful to me.
Daisy will always be the best. I think of her more than a wonderful cousin.
She’s more like the person who sweeps you off your feet every second day.
Everything she does is amazing.

Coy is…well interesting. I never gave him enough credit though sometimes I
still hate that under developed vermin. I don’t know…I am in between with
him still. Both Vance and Coy aren’t like Luke and I. I suppose that could
be bad but it is not.

“Bo…what was the most interesting experience you had up at the front?” Luke
asked after being silent for an hour. I looked at his exhausted eyes and
wondered what could be going through his head right now.

“Well, one point in time when I first got there we were fighting all day. We
lost a lot of lives on that hill. I was still out there watching all of
these bodies being carried off by medics and such. Finally it broke and I
could see the stars as the smoke of the weapons cleared. You know what? It
was almost like they were shinning just for me. It was kind of…just telling
me that everything was okay…or that it was going to be okay anyway. How
about you Luke…what was your top experience?” I replied.

“A lot of times I thought that I couldn’t make it here. Now I think to
myself how come? Why did I ever doubt that I was coming back? We had these
boxing tournaments that were so amazing that I almost could cringe now. I
couldn’t believe half of the guys that I punched out. Every single time I
had a match I could always think of you and have the strength to do it.
Every time I went on a mission I thought about you and sometimes would
pretend you were beside me.”

“I did the same thing.”

“Bo…I never thought that I was with your girl.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Cookie…she told me off. She said that she loved you dearly though you were
young.”

“She liked me like a son. Cookie mothered me a lot. I couldn’t help but have
that relationship. However I could never have that whole loving relationship
with her. Cookie was too old for me…way too old for me.”

“Well she told me that I needed to go home. Cookie seemed to know what was
good for both of us. I thought that staying would be my best bet. She
thought otherwise. I was having all the nightmares and I hadn’t even left
yet.”

“What kind of nightmares have you had?”

“The whole deal…from faces of people I killed to…well everything.”

“Well I will tell of one experience. I killed a child. I didn’t mean to and
they said I couldn’t have known but I killed her all the same. I saw her
face…she was horrified. I couldn’t believe that I had shot her. I was on
guard duty and sometimes they come around to collect stuff for other GI’s to
make souvenirs. It’s sick but they need the money. Anyway…I shot her. I keep
seeing that face and it scares me. “

“Bo…I had no idea.”

“Well no one did.”

“You know, maybe we should take the time to talk more often.”

“That would be nice Luke…really nice. Boy, am I happy you came back. You
know that I was afraid I would never have a moment like this with you?”

“You mean going into prison?”

“No but that is a funny point. I never thought that you would ever be home
again.”

“On a lighter note, I didn’t we would go to prison either. I thought boys
like you and I would never end up in a place like this. I bet we never will
again. I bet you we will have such clean records even Uncle Jesse will beat
us.”

“Well I have a feeling we haven’t seen the end of bars.

“What do you mean by that?”

“I don’t know…I just have one of those feelings in my big toe…you know
the type Uncle Jesse gets?”

“Yeah I know what you mean. That don’t mean we have to act on it. After all
we are our own people.” I laughed at Luke and wondered what in the world he
was talking about. I didn’t have time to care. There was Deputy Lou griping
as usual as he brought down the trays. That moustache moved up and down. I
couldn’t believe how much it resembled a white rat. I had to giggle.

“What’s so all fired funny? Is it the food or the fact I am a deputy?” Lou
questioned. I couldn’t believe how mad he was about that still…though I
would be too if I was demoted to private on account of how young I am. I
didn’t say anything though. “You boys don’t know how awful that Rosco is.
Boss gives him my job and he ain’t ready for it yet. Sure he’s been a deputy
for a long time but he would rather make paper airplanes than listen to me.”
For some reason I could relate to what he was saying. Dubois could have
respected me but he didn’t. What was his punishment? Well he died of course.

“You ain’t alone,” I replied.

“You know he’s good at what he does. However, someday his intelligence will
slowly flow out of his brain. I tell you, greed takes over. With greed comes
stupidity.”

“I never thought about that.” If I was really rich and I decided I wanted
more money I would go to a casino. I would spend all of it and come out
empty handed. What would be the satisfaction in that? Well I suppose you
would have no more to gamble. It’s almost like gambling your life away. When
you loose it all you know it is time for a change. It was almost like when I
joined the army I presume. I gave up three years…three years where I could
have been a teenager instead of a man.

Somehow those words struck me like nothing I had ever heard before. I
couldn’t think of anything else. It was like something was telling me not to
be a fool in life. I mean really, who could depend on success as a way of
life? Even if I lived to be a poor farmer and I had a wife by my side I
would be better off than if I were rich and alone. It’s just the way it is.

Well I could see that sheriff coming down the stairs that night. The same
cold hardened look on his face was there. The same that hit his face every
time work was over; it wouldn’t be over if we stayed in for another night.
However, that evening, we were let out of prison and I had thought a lot
about life. I had thought about how I could make it different. I would not
let those, kind of things hold me back anymore.

Riding home I looked at my Uncle. The lines of life were starting to show on
his soft cheeks. What once was thick strawberry blonde hair was silver or
almost completely white. He had lived a good life…he raised us and kept a
good farm. He ran shine every now and then but that was a part of our
everyday life. Uncle Jesse was and still is a well respected person in the
community. He always lends a hand to all in need. He led a life I wanted to
live. I didn’t want to be consumed by those kinds of matters. We have each
other and that’s enough.

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