WELCOME TO THE HAPPY FARM SERIES
The Young Bull and the Old Bull
John, master at the rodeo
Reaching into his back pocket, John retrieved something wrapped in dried banana leaves. Carefully, he open the packet and drew out a half burnt spliff. My eyes opened wide, John with weed! Oh dear me, I knew John for many years, he was not a smoker — maybe a drink or two but that was as far as his indulgences went. John grew food in the foothills; he had little time for anything else. He had wrapped his bread and chicken tightly in a plastic bag — no ants were going to get at his lunch.
Slowly he felt around in his shirt pocket and drew out a lighter. After two scratches of the roller against the flame-causing thingy, John had fire. Putting his marijuana cigarette between thick lips, he allowed the flame to touch the tip. He took a long drag and slowing blew the smoke through his nostrils, John smiled wryly.
“Remember Mavis was quite young when we got married. I was 19 years older than her. She was 17 and I was 36. There was an uproar in the village. I was too old and unpolished for Mister and Mistress young daughter. They had high hopes for her. She went piano lessons and typing class. They wanted her to marry up.”
John started laughing and ended up coughing on the smoke. “ Yes sire, they wanted her to marry a fancy man who would take care of her. Well I made sure that they could not say I did not take care of their daughter. I worked hard. I already had a house and a old truck. I had a good bit of change saved and I sent her driving lessons and bought her a car. I wanted her to feel like she married up. I gave her everything she asked for. I remember that time she said she wanted to go Curacao and St. Maarten, I made sure she went. Mavis went pon a plane!”
His eyes grew misty, I was not sure if it was from the smoke or the trip down memory lane. It was clear that John loved Adele. Her name was Adele. No one called her Mavis but John.
“But what she meant by climate change? What was she talking about?”
“She started taking some classes at the community college a couple years ago. Remember we only had our one son and he is a big man now, already married and living with his wife. She had time on her hands to read books and study and take classes and learn about dis and dat. Mavis said she was now an advocate for saving the planet.
Save what planet? The planet don’t need a piece of saving. If we upset the balance too much, you know where we heading! Out to sea and we ain’t coming back. If that don’t do the job, we know what else she can stir up.
Mother Nature ain’t easy you know! She knows how to take care of us and she damn well know how to take care of herself.”
I let John talk. He felt like talking and it didn’t appear like he was going to get to the answer of my question any time soon. I guess he had things on his chest to get off.
“Yeah, girl. She up and left with some young teacher from the college. She said that will all the changes with the environment, she had to change too.
Asking how I expect to be of any help to her five years from now! With sea level rising and global warming, and those category five storms. Suppose she had to make a quick escape in a storm, who going help her, when I may not even be able to walk? I was done an old man.”
“Oh my,” I exclaimed. “she left you for a young bull!”
John grinned. “I taught those young bulls all the tricks they know. She left de real teacher for de student.”
I. Trudie Palmer
Read the earlier stories here:-