Harder Than an Apple

…walking with the dog Riley, chasing ghosts with his black mane, chasing leaves in December, affording only Herrsteiner sixpacks in the bottle, cash in hand after waiting tables at O’Michael’s, staying rent free, but lessons in country life, Uncle Ebb tucked away in the farmhouse across the great yellow grain field, a view not visited in Bob’s thoughts for many years, looking southwest across the pond where they fished unbelievably since the water was so empty and prone to disappearing in the slightest drought, the trees beckoning them to rot, the largest cypress tree in Florida in Hightree, a short hike through an urban swamp, tripping on acid and the sole purpose for the trip, a huge time was had, but they were too high and the fall was harder than an apple or cypress wood, and a tropical

… the bitterness and the acceptance, the bright ideas once a day, then all uphill from there …

storm drenching offered to the Panhandle of Florida while repairing someone’s furniture almost north to Interstate Ten, sheets of rain and low gray clouds, and everything aground a saturated green, a green which became moss on the north face of a tree on Devonbridge in November rain, the lowness, the fear and lack of courage, the bitterness and the acceptance, the bright ideas once a day, then all uphill from there, an uphill battle flavored with hazelnut creamer, the taste of autumn for almost two decades, the trailer in Rausch Hollow, searching the want ads in the Midsouth Register that they had to drive over the mountain to get, upon return the stark A.M. Sunrise whole bean coffee with Taste O’ The World hazelnut creamer, the warmth of the October sun shining in the den window of the trailer in the morning, and by some algorithm ending up installing duct-work for Uncle Ebb in the new houses in Braxton, the Buddhist roofers, the mud under the houses, the pay for the first time by the job not the hour, the cold and layers of clothes and the diet of strong coffee brewed each morning and carried to the site in the stainless steel Insulator his father had given him, which was his Insulator and kept the coffee hot until at least eleven…

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