“Come on Grandpa, you’ve been promising to tell us that story for a long time, but you never do!”
The kids all sat around the campfire, pushing and daring each other closer to the glowing embers, but then pulling away in the last second. The marshmallows were eaten and stuck on their hands, while their faces bore the rest of the sticky mass, mixed with charcoal and Tundra Dust. The old man just looked up at the blackness of the night sky, and wished to God, he didn’t know what he knew about
“Well”, he started to say, “It all started when I was a much younger man, and met a woman from, ”
“Was she an Alaskan, just like we are Gramps?” “Was she like our Aunts, Irma and Jolene?”
The old man just sighed and wished, he didn’t have to rake those coals over again, but he had been promising them a story, and this one was one of the better from his long list of remembrances from the dim past. “You see, it all happened in
“I don’t know, Lola. Are you sure you want to get into this plot? Why look at an old man and a bunch of kids, when we can learn about the finer aspects of taming the Slippery Nipple, or riding the rapids down the alimentary canal!”
Lola considered her options. She could also go into town with the Caribou Woman, and try to guess how many notches Torn T. Ribbons had in his belt, at the Saturday Afternoon Matinee showing at the Blue Rooster Cafe in beautiful downtown Homer! The winner of the day’s contest would be eligible to win Torn. T’s authentic silver spurs which are an excellent complement to his other accessories, A stylish whip and matching handcuffs, something to heat up your otherwise cool Alaskan afternoon, with a bit of hot and heavy
-Sighing- Lola just put those thoughts on the back-burner while her “significant other” looked through the other options on their 3-channel TV.
“She was a bit on the wild side, she was” the old man began. “She demanded his affection, but continued to tell him that “she didn’t hold no grudges, if it went wrong”, and it did you know. It went way wrong for the two of them. He just reached into his pocket and took out a shiny metal container, and took a long sip from it, before he continued. The played a kind of tug-of-war game with each other. He gave, and she took. She cried, and he comforted. She longed, but he, well he held back until
Lola began to stare at the old man, as he tried to tell the truth as he remembered it, but she could see that it was difficult at best.
“Well, she met him that fateful day on the bridge over “Lonely Heart’s Gulch” with the rapids roaring in the background, and her eyes aflame. He had written, a story. A tale of sorts, which she misinterpreted, but took it to be true. She lost it, just plumb lost it and went around making him and his family pay for her woes”.
Lola didn’t know who she wanted to side with? She was trying to see both sides, but knew in her heart what jealousy is for a beast, and how it can turn you inside out and back again. She wanted to be that woman, but feared what the old man would tell, with them on that bridge, high over the gorge, with just a thin strand of her sanity left between them.
“She took hold of him and said, “I curse you and yours. From this day forward, no other Canadian in their wrong mind will follow you to the ends of the earth, like I did. None of them!”
The children started to inch away from the fire, as the lines in the face of the old man grew deeper and darker.
“She tried to grab hold of me and take me with her over that bridge” he said, making the story a bit too real to listen to, but not giving them enough courage to run away.
Lola just grabbed onto me, fearing the worst, as the end of the story came.
“The darned thing was, she never apologized for what she done me. She just said, “You’ll forgive me. I just know it. You will, that’s all…
That is why Lemming Bridge over Lonely Heart’s Gulch is cursed to this day, today. And you know what? Some say that if you find yourself out alone some night, you still might hear her laughter turned to rage, in the minutes before she threw herself off that bridge with the rest of her Lemming Friends!” – taking an even bigger swig of the blackness in his bottle, while looking furtively at the faces around him…
The light of the fire was fading to black on the faces of the children, who one by one ran off into the darkness, calling for their parents to save them from “That Crazed Canadian”…..
“Golly Lola. And I always wondered why that Bridge never appealed to me, especially when I would walk along singing the Canadian National Anthem, O’Canada…
9 June 2018