The Carriage Driver³ - Rosemary
There was a spring in her step. She was Spring in appearance. There was a spring of joy bubbling from her heart. So often those she passed, turned and watched the wake of her, like a majestic ship. An encounter with her was worthy of mention. There was a nostalgic effect seeing her, like seeing a jar of marbles, or a rowing oar hung from hooks on a wall as a reminder of some far off summer afternoon. She was a reminder of your youth.
She arrived like a gift and left as a memory. It was her way. Memories age, as all those that carry them. They touch you; they can be as warm as close friends and as pleasant as shade in Summer.
Rosemary, throughout her life, traveled: she was often pursued, but seldom caught. Spring is thought of mostly as a sign that the earth is beginning to escape from the cold. Rosemary was like Spring, she arrived with a burst of color and promise of warmth. People responded to her, like light glimmering on still water.
Captain Griffin Caffey readied the carriage. The leather was polished and supple from years of care. The wheels were balanced and new varnish applied to the spokes. He took extra time to brush Nuelle. He talked to her throughout the chore. He led her out of the stable and brought out the carriage. No other outfit compared.
He arrived at his destination just after dusk. The lanterns on the carriage provided all the light that was necessary. He watched as Rosemary approached; in these moments he felt so much joy. He stepped down as she approached and waited.
Her smile casts more light than the carriage lanterns. Nuelle, no stranger to the cold, was instantly elevated. Griffin held out his hand, the touch of Rosemary’s hand sent a surge of youthful wellbeing through him.
Rosemary stepped into the carriage and sat down. Griffin took off his jacket and stored it under his seat. He gave Nuelle her rein.
“Do you know where you want to go?” Griffin thought of so many places he thought might suit her.
“On one of my passing through this plane, I had the privilege of meeting many of the most creative people. It was far away, and long ago. I think of those days often. There was such a sense that all that life had to offer, could be obtained.” She paused, “I am not talking about monetary things you have to understand. No one had any money. What we had and so liberally shared is the adventure of life. That elusive feeling that everywhere you turned, if you needed it, help would be there. No one ever really needed any help, because if something needed to be done, everyone showed up to do it. I think they call it; ‘short work’ – the work needed to be done, and everyone pitched in and did it. Do you know what I mean?”
Griffin paused before responding, “That is not the system I am used to hearing about. Tell me more.”
Rosemary leaned back, smiling, “It was a simple place. Not a lot of gadgets, like we see today. People led simple lives. They talked to each other. There was a fellow who fixed automobiles. He could take a car apart and put it all back together and he did it with a smile. He worked six days a week and kept all the cars in the area running. He was great. There was this gal, who heard about this place and packed everything she owned and drove her bakery truck there hoping to find a place she could call her own. As I recall, she fit right in with the rest of them. Maybe she even made them all better for knowing her. Of course, there was the cook; he liked nothing better than fixing a breakfast fit for a king for all that entered their doorway. If he was not cooking he was sitting on a stool in the kitchen reading the newspaper, waiting for the next customer to come along. And there were some pretty famous customers that stopped in as their journeys crossed paths with our own. We had a gay old time. The evenings brought out the fireflies and the summer breeze. With the work day done, the people gathered and celebrated all that was good and shared any distress that may have come their way.”
“It sounds like an interesting place. Does it have a name? I’ll see if it is on the map.”
That look of someone that just recalled a fond memory came to Rosemary’s face. “I remember it was just off the crossroads. Does that help?”
Nuelle turned her head to look at their fare.
“Can you tell me anything else?”
“I remember a tall strutting cowboy came to town. He changed the history of the place. There was a place for everything before he got there. The mechanic had his eye on the prettiest girl in town. As a matter of fact, the cook had his eye on the prettiest girl in town also. Men are such funny creatures.” She leaned forward, “No offense.”
“Before you know it, he had the idea of playing movies on the side of the café in the summer evenings. The cook would string the wires for the speakers and many of the people would arrive in their pickup trucks and park with their tailgates down. The projector would start and it was like magic.” She clapped her hands and brought them to her chest with the joy of remembering. “Oh, I don’t remember who had the idea, I think the waitress, oh, what was her name? About once a mouth we all gathered at the café and anyone who wanted to would read a poem or recite something they had written. The cowboy or the mechanic would make sure there was wine to drink or Coke for those that preferred Coke. And the Baker would spend her day making the most delicious pastry for all of us. The waitress would bring out her Mother’s fine China tea cups, her heirlooms, and serve the ‘special tea’ - as one after another we shared what was in our soul with each other for all to see. Seems the cook was always talking about building a little place to call his own. Seems he finally was able to do that. Seems he wanted nothing more than the shade of some Pecan trees near a river, and someone to share it with. Now, the cowboy wanted the world. He wanted to be able to offer the prettiest girl, all that the world had to offer. I am leaving someone out, oh, the gal who ran the boutique, she could sew up a piece of clothing and anyone that tried it on would feel like a Cinderella, no matter what shape she inherited. I think you would have liked her. Everybody there loved her. The waitress held us all together. She had a natural smile and was good through and through. She understood that the men were pursuing her and made them all feel like they were in the race. I guess it is tough being the girl that many men want. You know their egos are so fragile. I know it is a long journey from where we are now, but could you bring me to Emerald Wells, Texas, just off the crossroads. If we hurry we may make it in time for Speakeasy night.”
2/14/1950 - 6/26/2017
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