3.The Mountain Man

Roy 2nd Encounter continued

I don’t know if Roy is the freest man I’ve ever known.  But I believe he believes.  And that is as much resolution I can get for that topic for today.

“Did you get to write anything since I saw you the other day?’’ I asked.

He tugged three handwritten pages from his notebook and passed them to me.

“Do you have a phone?”  he asked and, when I nodded, “do you mind if I call my daughter in Montana?”

He recited a number and I tapped it into my Droid for him.

A voice came on line on the third ring, delight bubbled from the phone when said I was here with Roy.  Then handed him the phone and, while he talked, I looked at the pages.

It began: The horse is a proud beast, born to run.”

I scanned the story, which told of the Arabian and Spanish horses that first came to this country, then an anecdote about a horse freeing a wagon that had become stuck.

In the story I noticed midway through the sixth line there was a tiny “50”, six lines later, a “100.”

When Roy was off the phone, he volunteered, “It went a little over 500 words,” he said.  I looked at the back page.  There was a “500” written seven words before the final period.

“I like what I see in a quick look.  I’m pretty sure the people who read my blog would like it.  Can I use your name when I publish it?”

“Yes, I can use my name.  I always tried to stay legal.  Only been in jail a couple of times.  But that was nothing.”

“What would that be for?”  I asked.

“One time I camped for more than fourteen days in one spot.  I don’t even know how they knew.  Sometimes they don’t mind.  That time they did.”

He had agreed to let me take the story with me so I tucked the pages away for a later, more critical read.

“Do you stay in touch with your family?”  I asked.

“Yes, we talk every couple of weeks.  It only costs two quarters to talk for four minutes.  My daughter is married and has a kid.  She is 26 or so.  I think she kind of admires me.  She is in business with her mother.  I have a son, too, he is about 35.  I think he understands me well.  I think they are a little disappointed in me.“

I waited, hoping he’d unravel that thread a bit further.  When he didn’t, I asked.

“Anyone else you talk to?”

“My parents are in Florida.  They are too old to travel.  I don’t think anyone sees them.  Maybe my sister.  She lives over there somewhere, North Carolina or Georgia.”

“What’s her name?”

“What do you want to know for?”

“Truthfully, I might like to talk with her if you wouldn’t mind.”

“She doesn’t know me.  You won’t learn anything about me from her.”

I let that go.

“What does she do? “

“Some kind of craft.”

“Does she get by doing that?”

“I think she does.  She developed a strong character.  A real nice girl”

“She must be a pretty good craftsman. It is hard to make a living at that.”

“I think she is.”

“What about your parents?”

“My dad was career military.  He flew in the Second World War.  I think they are disappointed in me.  Thought I should have been more responsible.  I will tell you this.  I never heard a cross word between them.  And there was never a cross word to me or my sister when we were kids.”

Hours had gone by.  We had talked about more than I would be able to remember.

“Roy, I am going to call it a day.  I am going to have to head home for a few weeks.  I will leave in a day or two.  But I will stop by again before I do.”

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8 Responses to 3.The Mountain Man

  1. karen wittgraf says:

    OK Al- what does it signify when I am excited to see your blog on my email? And what does it mean when I find myself reading very slowly about Roy and dreading the last sentence. You’ve got me. Awaiting more.
    This photo is almost spiritual.

  2. Tony Bacon says:

    Al you are the master. No one but you could get that much out of Roy. This is such a great story and I hope you talk to him more before you leave.
    Tony Bacon

  3. Glen Queen says:

    Al ; I am enjoying the Mountain Man story. I look forward to more.

    Glen

  4. Laila says:

    Hello Al

    In this blog, you got me connected with Roy and his family. Nice work. Waiting for more.

  5. Colleen Rae says:

    I admire the way you question him gently, without ‘third-degreeing’ him. Very astute on your part. You would make a good journalist- already on your way to being a fine writer. Thanks. I look forward to hearing more of your story of Roy.

  6. More Gold. Roy mentioned “twice” that they might be dissapointed in him. That thought may haunt him for some reason. However, even if “they” were dissapointed in him, does it matter.

    My question is,”Is Roy dissapointed in how his life turned out?” When we think other people maybe feel a certain way, isn’t that really our voice?

    They have their lives. He has his and his is as free as he wants. I wonder what they think of freedom?

    • allevenson says:

      I agree with your guess that telling of two different guesses of other’s disappointments might have been a mirror of his own inward looks. For another view of this, check out tomorrow’s post entitled, The Mountain Man, Post Script.

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