Saturday, November 28, 2020

Gift of the Rose and Rufus


Mallory gimp-walked the perimeter of the repossessed property with Rufus, his 12-year-old arthritic English Sheepdog following at a slower pace. He paused and studied the Tibet roses his mother had planted 50 years before as a memorial to the KIA Vietnam veteran father he’d never known.

Waiting for the old dog to catch up, Mallory turned toward the clapboard, two-bedroom house built for workers at the long-closed WWII shipyard. Always needed paint, but at least the inside looks better than the outside.

The rose was in August heat-stress and Mallory turned to get the hose. Crap! They cut off the water yesterday. A tear ran down his cheek as he looked at Rufus sniffing the dry soil around the plant. He’s never known another place – he’ll stay here when this is all over.

The next afternoon he penciled a letter to his estranged older sister. It said in part, “After Mother died, it took nearly a month to clear enough space to start some very necessary improvements before I moved in from my rental. I’d always assumed she used Father’s $20,000 military insurance to pay off the mortgage. The VA has records of the cashier’s check being endorsed by Mother, but I never found a bank deposit. I drained my savings to cover back payments and taxes. Mother left it in my name, but I felt you were equal in the estate. They’ve taken the property, so there’s no estate to share, but no debt either. My dog Rufus with severe arthritis; was put down this morning. I’ll bury his ashes next to the rose Mother planted for Father.”

None of Mallory’s neighbors were interested in the withering rose. He put the plant in yard debris recycling and got $10 from a scrap metal merchant for the brass plaque.

He felt emotional and physical pain as he pushed a spade deep into the soil where he’d taken out the rose. He pried up. A corner of a rusted metal box appeared with his effort. A block of paraffin wax dropped from the nearly disintegrated box when he removed it from the soil. He replaced the space taken by the box with the cardboard container of Rufus’ ashes.

Mallory found a sealed canning jar inside the paraffin block with 200, still crisp, $100 bills. If not for Rufus, I’d not have a gift from the rose left by Mother.

 

 


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

First or Next

 

Adam Byzantine-III was the first grandson of Adam Byzantine-I and his girlfriend Eve Havah. He tasked himself to do focused research to understand the lives and deaths of his grandfather Adam-I and granduncle Rishon.

His ancestor programs research revealed no children of Rishon and his wife Mattea. Saved family letters confirmed that Eve and Mattea became close friends after Adam-I and Rishon died the same day. The women often speculated about whom died first or next. Authorities ruled Rishon’s death suicide, but there were questions in the minds of both women. Were the authorities wrong and one death was by murder? If so, which of the brothers murdered the other?

The young doctoral candidate saw irony in his grandparents having biblical given names. Adam-III was the first born of his parents, but he knew his name didn’t mean first born. He fully accepted the biblical account of Adam being the first human and Eve was the name God gave as his gift to Adam.

From his studies in Hebrew, Adam-III knew Rishon means “the first” and Mattea means “gift of God.” The given names were as confusing to him as his family name. Skipping past the classic meanings of Byzantine, he found the improper noun meaning – of something characterized by intrigue, scheming, or deviousness.

Oral and documented family history verified that Rishon and Adam-I were raised as one and what one did the other did also, but not necessarily at the same time. Rishon was generally kicking, crying, and colicky; Adam-I was restful, cooing, and tranquil. Just as in the legend of Romulus and Remus, Adam-I and Rishon were orphaned, disagreed on most things, were raised without human loyalty, and found women lacking in their early lives.

Adam-III discovered that Rishon and Mattea met during studies for a degree in sociology. Adam-I, also a student in the Masters of Sociology program, met Eve under different circumstances.  She was the graveyard shift waitress at the Dunkin` Doughnuts where insomniac students added to their inability to sleep with strong brewed coffee and often unnecessary over-study of assigned material.

Coincidentally, Cain, the son of the original Adam and Eve, killed his brother Abel and Romulus killed his brother Remus.

Only Rishon knew he would be taking Adam-I with him when he leapt from a cliff into an abyss below.

Or did Adam-I go first?

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Say What?

 A young man dribbled gas on his coat sleeve while filling up his vehicle at a self-serve pump. A short time later, he lit a cigarette and held it out the window to keep the smell out of the car as he drove through town. A spark caught his sleeve on fire, and he waved it frantically in the wind. An officer stopped the young man and gave him a citation for displaying a firearm in public.

The same young man was ticketed for texting while driving. A short time later the same officer stopped him and asked him why he was texting while driving after getting a ticket. The young man replied, “I wasn’t texting. I was using an app to pay my fines.”

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Not Much

That's right - not much to say here, so this will be blank until I need an extra page. Refer to: https://johnmorrisbenson.com/

Gift of the Rose and Rufus

Mallory gimp-walked the perimeter of the repossessed property with Rufus, his 12-year-old arthritic English Sheepdog following at a slowe...