Nita Moore enjoys writing poetry, historical fiction and (now that she’s a grandmother), children’s stories. Professionally, she is owner of Nita Moore Massage Therapy for more than 20 years. Originally from Horicon, daughter Don and Jeanez Miescke, she now lives in Fond du Lac.
Publisher’s note: We are delighted to present for you a poem Old Angus Goes A’Courtin’ a wonderful story by Nita Moore. We will publish weekly installments each Wednesday until complete. Today please enjoy part five …
Old Angus Goes A’Courtin’
© Nita Moore 2019
“A lot of good memories ride on these wheels.
Climb up there, young lass, and see how it feels.”
Gus boosted the girl up onto the seat,
“I’m high!” she remarked, “Can we go? This is neat!”
Gus couldn’t help smiling a mechanical pride;
Her innocent words were his thoughts many times.
It was a 1972 Chevy Cheyenne
In metallic flake candy apple and tan.
This truck represented a good part of his life,
And “wrenching” kept him sane after the death of his wife.
“There’s something in here that I’d like you to see.
Pop open the glove box if you would, please, Penny.”
She jabbed the chrome button and the metal door popped
What toppled out was a jumble of stuff:
A map of Wisconsin, a flashlight, and flares,
A bag of hard candies, a receipt from Sears,
A rumpled bandana and a clatter of tools,
A comb, a coin purse, and half a dog biscuit, too.
Penny bounced with excitement and gave a short clap.
“The real treasure,” said Gus, “is way in the back.”
He reached his big hand to the back of the pile
And pulled out a blue plastic document file.
“Most of these papers are boring at best—
Insurance, registration, the name of our vet —
“And last but not least the most precious thing yet:
“This is a picture of the people I love—
My family, all together … and that’s Blue on the rug.”
Grace had walked up and stood silently by,
She had caught his last line and leaned forward to spy.
“The tall guy in back is my son, Harry James;
He’s a lawyer in Charleston with a house in LaGrange.”
“LaGrange here or in Georgia?” Grace pushed to the middle.
“May as well be Georgia, I see him so little.”
“That’s his young wife Suzanne, and my granddaughter Kay.
And as you can see, there was one on the way.
“His name is Brett, who turned ten years in May.
“And the woman in front is Katherine, my wife,
A talented woman and the love of my life.
“Shortly after this picture she hit a tree with her car
When a blood clot had traveled from her leg to her heart.”
An audible gasp escaped Grace’s lips.
“Yeah, the shock nearly killed me; my life did a flip.
It took all that I had to get a firm grip.
“I couldn’t blame Harry for moving away,
I didn’t want my grandkids to see me that way.
“It was life in the deep end, day after day.
“First the farm went to seed and then so did I.
And when Mac came along I was low, I won’t lie.
“But we started restoring my old pickup truck.
Guess he walked me right through it, every bolt, every nut,
“And I knew when the motor fired up with a roar
Something else had turned over, something deep in my core.”
“Can we hear it?” cried Penny, “Can you make the truck roar?”
“You bet, wild one, I can rattle the doors!”
Grace returned the suit jacket to Angus McCray,
And he tossed it on the seat where the other things lay.
“Mr. McCray, I must admit this.
I mistook you for a salesman or Jehovah’s Witness.
“That suit was in style back in ‘72;
I think my date to the prom had one like it in blue.”
The look that Gus gave her was one of surprise,
And the hint of amusement crinkled his eyes.
Grace colored with shame when she realized
That offense could be taken by her critical words,
“I’m so sorry; I seem to blurt things — completely absurd!”
“No offense taken, and I’ll count it as luck.
A good year, ‘72 — the same year as my truck!
“I’m vintage, it’s true, and dry-humored as wine,
Still, I’m hoping you’d like to have dinner sometime.”
A moment of tension passed over her face.
He could see she was troubled so he said, “Listen, Grace,
“I’ll leave that door open, so whenever you like
You can come out to visit, or call me, or just write.
“I’m still in the phone book as A.C. McCray,
Route 4 to the east near Fiddlehead Bay.
“Two weeks from now, Mac is stoking the grill
For our neighborhood corn roast at Blueberry Hill.
“It’s a fish fry and potluck with a dance later on;
There’ll be horseshoes and games, and a “boat dunk” in the pond.
“For the scavenger hunt, there’ll be treasures to hide.
I’ll even bring Goldie Locks out for a ride.
“You and your family are welcome to come,
We’ll have plenty of food, and with luck there’ll be sun.”
Young Penny was bobbing and pumping Gran’s arm,
Yet Grace held reserve in the face of his charm.
“I thank you,” she said, “I’ll give that some thought.”
Gus nodded genteelly and got in his truck.
The truck came alive with the turn of his key,
And it rumbled with power that startled Penny.
Then they all waved goodbye as he backed out to leave.
to be continued …