Re: I Met Myself Last Night...
The two-track trail leading back to the small cabin known as "Trail's End" was a narrow ribbon of challenging travel, one that was a combination of deep slush and muddy quagmires, and all of which threaten to put a suction hold on the tires of my Fish Truck. Since the birth of the old Chevy Tahoe, I doubt that the 4-wheel drive unit had spent that much time in the "Low" range of 4x4.
Powering out of the last mud bog, I rounded the bend and broke into the clearing that the little cabin calls home. At last on solid ground, I turned off the truck and just sat, carefully going over every exterior detail of the place that I could see from the driver's seat.
The winter hadn't been kind to the old place. The western corner of the porch roof sagged at an awkward angle, the obvious victim of the year's heavy snows and the fact that a 10-foot length of pine branch with a 6-inch diameter still rested atop the porch. Come Spring, it would be repair priority #1.
The "walk-about" that took me around the cabin only added to the upcoming Spring chores. Torn screens and a few shingles ripped from the roof by the winter's high winds would need replacing, as would a few of the forest green cedar-shake siding pieces that had broken loose since the last days I'd spent any time here. The work would be a great bit of therapy for yours truly, and a chance to resurrect a skill set that hasn't been tapped in a few years.
To its credit, one of the "out-buildings" still stood strong-- Montgomery's infamous "bath with a path," otherwise known in the venacular of my youth as the out-house! The late Montgomery Jackson laughingly referred to it as a "two-holer," in that there were two spots for... uh... meditation and taking care of business, so to speak. To this day, I don't ever recall both "thrones" being occupied at the same time!
The heavy lock on the front door did its level best to impede any progress into the cabin, fighting all attempts to move its inner workings via the old skeleton keys before yielding only after liberal doses of WD-40. The rush of air from inside as the door swung open had that heavy stagnant sort of smell to it that belied the fact that there'd been little visitation in recent months. Once properly aired out, the place again took on the odor of pipe smoke, gun oil and yes, even a wet dog or two.
With some curtains thrown back for light, I was amazed at how neatly arranged the cabin's interior now was, what with stacks of gear and boxes here and there, and all properly labeled. Beneath the ghostly light of the old Coleman lantern, the dust hanging heavy of almost everything was obvious. And, given the care that had been taken in placing the interior's contents just so, it also was plain to see that the late Montgomery Jackson had done so in his own way of arranging his final affairs. Meticulous to the end...
The sorting, cleaning and repair work would have to wait until a week or two before the Opener. And, as I turned to leave, I came upon an old black-and-white photo of the late Montgomery Jackson and a much younger version of me. I thought of taking it down and bringing it home with me, but then thought better of it. By leaving it in its place within "Trail's End," the two of us still fish together, and still sit in old chairs on the front porch, watching the river's currents travel through the horseshoe bend just in front of the place. It's a memory that needs to hold, if only for a little longer...
Jerry, aka hairwing530