Fellow From the Past

‘Stood below the six-foot mark; somewhere between 150 and 200; hair, eyes, the color of a muskrat; a recipient of a few psychological  issues he did not ask for, one example being intermittent manic symptoms, with sting-like swings into melancholy.  He was in his mid-thirties, and never considered himself an extrovert;  but communicating with folks in social situations was . . . doable … for short periods.

[The drawing, top left, was created from Jeff Hein / heinacademyofart.com.  This is an amazing image, that fits the good-hearted man I am describing in this post.] 

If and when the first hint of depression emerged, he glided away like a prehistoric hawk, into hiding.  During such times he read Faulkner, Hemingway, Foster, the Hardy Boys, and Jack London.

William Faulkner / rjgeib.com
William Faulkner / rjgeib.com




Col. Charles T. Lanham and Ernest Hemingway / http://commons.wikipedia.org
Col. Charles T. Lanham and Ernest Hemingway / http://commons.wikipedia.org
Richard Foster / www.aacc.net
Richard Foster / http://www.aacc.net

Eye contact was second to none with some unexplainable exceptions. He had a “lazy eye” (the left) and a full beard, slight gray in the middle.

Hardy Boys
Hardy Boys (Photo credit: Chris Blakeley)

He drove a red Ford pickup truck, with a gray wool blanket (purchased at a garage sale for a dollar) over the bench seat.

Thousands of sunflower seed hulls scattered over the floor mats.  Between the driver’s side and the passenger side sat a worn brown bible (pages, thin, curved up at the corners – – – page numbers rubbed off) and a small spiral notebook to jot down “to-do” items and measurements for building supplies and sheds he was building for people.

A cup of black coffee /  needmorecoffee.com
A cup of black coffee / needmorecoffee.com

His first cup of black chicory coffee was between 5 and 6am. The writing started about that time, and went to 10am.  The deal with the editor was . . . three pieces each week: from fishing to hunting to grieving to laughing to friendship.  Chicory coffee didn’t interfere with him from sleeping like a big dog.  But he couldn’t sleep worth a hoot if didn’t write well.  The book he was working on would probably never be finished.  But that didn’t matter.  He wrote every day between 5 -6am and 10am; and from 7-8pm until 1130-midnight.  The chronic pain got going some nights during that time.  He would write with such intensity to take his mind off the pain.  I always felt like there was some courage, there, living on and writing on and pressing on, in the midst of mania, and blues, and pain.  And if he couldn’t write, because of the pain, he would just weep for a while, drowned out by loud Bruce Cockburn music.   If he wasn’t fishing, or hunting, or visiting old folks, or building sheds and things for the people he cared about, he played his fiddle, or took walks with his dog that looked a lot like this one (courtesy of http://www.farmprogress.com):

A good dog. ‘Didn’t complain much about anything. And that is all for now, other than that he was a good guy.


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