There lives, down the road a piece and round a couple of bends, a solitary man. He lives up a gully (ore or less), one of those folds in the Kansas prairie that can extend for miles through the plains.
He raises summer crops, cans his own veggies, dries his own fruits and meats. He raises chickens, rabbits and an occasional turkey. He’s pretty well insular back in there, neighbors he has, however widely separated.
He’s mostly content with the life he’s made for himself.
He came to visit me the other day, just about Thanksgiving time. Said he was goig to have a guest over and she would I join him/them for an early supper sometime after the first of the month. He’d call me with the specifics.
Yesterday was the early dinner.
Seems there were four of us. Me, him, a daughter of his and another woman.
After the dinner, while I was helping the man clean up everything, I asked him what had just happened.
He, being as closed mouth as he usually is, said that the younger woman was a friend of the younger. The younger was his daughter – whom he hadn’t seen since she was eighteen months old and her mother had divorced him.
The daughter had tracked him down in some manner and had called him wanting to talk to him and see him and, for all he knew take a bite from his liver.
The daughter wanted to know why he hadn’t paid attention to her when she was a child and why he hadn’t even contacted her at anytime.
The old boy looked at me when I said, that’s normal, and shook his head. He indicated that at the divorce a condition had been set by the mother. He was to forget he had a child and never, ever contact her. The court, he said, had allowed the mother and her new friend to adopt the child and took away his name, and barred him from intercourse with the new family.
And how, the old boy asked me, can I tell the daughter the agreement and hate and betrayal involved in all that from a mother she loves. Best, he said, that the separation continue and she find me if she needs me.
From the reaches,