The residents of Rim Ranch Gated Community looked over their visitor. Rumors of strangers passing through had circulated. Illegals, fugitives, undesirables. But never here. Within their gates, they had paid to be safe. Now this.
Whispers led to calls to first the HOA. The scarf was clearly not an approved green. Rules are rules. One dared called the Border Patrol as it was only two hours to Mexico. Only one dared to approach the stranger.
Tom spent fifteen minutes working up the courage. “Sylvia, I’m sure he’s just passing through. I mean he’s a snowman, first God’s sake. He obviously isn’t from around here.”
“Well, he looks dangerous. He could have a gun or knife under that snow. You need to tell him to leave!” Sylvia flips back her long black hair. Her hollow cheeks and pointy nose makes her look twice the bitch she is.
“Okay, I’ll check it out. But call the neighbors. They should know, in case they try something crazy.” Tom scratches through his salt and pepper head. Thinking maybe this is crazy.
Sylvia puts her hands on her hips. “You should have the phone with you! He could be dangerous. I told you that already! I knew we should have a gun. This could be one of a dozen hiding in the weeds! I’ve seen TV series about these things! ”
“We don’t have weeds here. They only allow trees here. Just call someone.” Tom puts on a coat. Not that it’s needed. Just to look bigger.
The stranger stands two hundred feet away. Tom walks out the door. He looks over his problem. The thoughts run free ‘The silk hat and scarf doesn’t fit the desert. The corn cob pipe… great. He is a smoker. His eyes glossy black. The flat nose… that’s not a white person’s nose. Damn, we do need a gun.’
Tom walks with his hands crammed into the pockets. His elbows point out wide. His approach goes without the stranger acknowledging him.
“Hey, you need help or something?” Tom’s voice isn’t as deep as normal. His nervousness shines through. “We just don’t see anyone like you here. You belong here, right?”
The stranger doesn’t respond. Tom gets within twenty feet and stops. He looks over his shoulder to the house. The 3000 square foot stone monolith house looks weird with the family pressed against the glass.
“Hey I’m talking to you pal!” Tom stomps a few feet closer. “We can call the police and you can talk to then instead.”
The stranger doesn’t respond.
Tom gets closer. He notices the flesh isn’t right. Shiny but covered in mess clothing. He finds himself within feet. They are both about six feet tall. But his cob corn pipe says “made in China” . The nose has two small holes and a white sticker on the side.
Tom’s words escape “Made in China!”
“You’re an illegal alien! You can’t even speak English! Oohhh, we know how to deal with this! I’ll get someone to teach you about messing with the Land of the Free!” Tom fumbles with the phone. The 9-1-1 call takes longer than it should.
He turns to the house. Gives his wife the thumbs up.
“Catch me if you can!” The stranger speaks and mysteriously hovers through the pine trees.
Officially it’s Memorial Day in the US. But it was once Decoration Day. The origins of this run deep. The Union troops first celebrated the holiday on May 30, 1868. But their were ones before that.
April 26,1866 was the first offical celebration of the Civil War dead in the south. The gravesodd the Confederate troops were decorated with ribbons and buttons. It was a symbol of homespun touches. The south want left with much. Most of the people in the south eye fast from rich before the war.
There small marking on Anniversary of major battles were common for both Northern and Southern graves. This was a war that no one thought would ever come. It’s a war that started with only a Northern Army and Northern Navy. The South were farmers with little industry. Every able bodied man who wasn’t a plantain owner fought in the South.
The Northern Armies were full of troops that well to do people paid others to take their place. In the North, a grand horse race track called Saratoga opened in the height of the war. The Southern people raced to Richmond to riot for bread. The honor of the fighters for the South was not lost that all but Gettysburg was fought in their homes, their fields, over their crops.
Both sides died in a war to force the country back together. From the beginning when families watch on the side lines outside Alexandria. To the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse. These men lead to a celebration to honor all those lost in battle under Stars and Stripes
A rare sunny St Patrick’s day has appeared in northern Ohio. Luck of the irish, maybe. But that luck is an elusive thing.
My grandfather was a Donovan, full blood Irishman second generation from a boat. Great Grandmother on other side was full blood too, but some Irish changed their name to gain employment besides clergy, police, street cleaning, butchering and low end jobs at the time.
These were the times when indentured servitude ended. The Irish were greatly exploited for labor in exchange for their passage to the new world. Ten to twenty years of labor to pay for the trip, then room and board. The elderly were free and broke (financially and physically). But happier thoughts are now associated with Irish heritage.
My shamrock is from twenty years ago. It’s maker long since meet her own maker. She lived in an apartment run by the Catholic Dioses, which meant poor elderly only. But crafty a women with a rich history. Not quite as good as celebrating the guy who removed snakes from Ireland.
Rare gems to share.
A pussy willow whose branches are weighed down with blooms
The first daffodils of the season. They are a full month early.
Osrick looks at the tv. The useless guide sounds through five hundred channels. Nothing satisfies his desire. The room around him is cluttered. His chair is a void in the chaos.
Millie yells into his dark living room. “Come on you’re up all night! Give it a rest! That box didn’t have to be on all the time.”
“Woman, I was up all night. I had a long night working. You know how far I travel for work! Leave me alone!” The voice turns to a growl.
“You’re ass leaves this house…. what once a year. Hell, maybe a couple times. But you are grumpy every time you come back!” Millie’s voice from a far.
“There are some people who get a support staff. Hell, I’m competing against a while damn workshop! Do you see an army of helpers around here? A system of representatives out in the field. .. they relay all the info back to headquarters. The factory spits it out. The fat man jumps in a sled! Really?! Hard life there pal.” Osrick takes a giant drink of a green shake.
“Dear every year. You go on and on. All the same shit. Get over it! I’m your support staff remember!” Her head pops out from around the corner.
“They call me the fucking Easter Bunny. I’m a hare! I hop all around the damn world. No sleigh! Hey, let’s see the fat man carry something without having thumbs! Let’s see him put together the toys himself! I got something for him this year!” He continues
“WHAT DID YOU DO! Oh no. You did something. Osrick I know that tone!” Millie’s ears drop to the side.
Meanwhile at the North Pole…..
“Hey, Murray Santa left these chocolate bites in the sleigh. Good thing we do spring cleaning. Yuck, they aren’t very good! They aren’t any chocolate I ever had before.” Dewey spits out what isn’t chocolate.
The elves look at each other and shuffled.