A Memory (Reynold Weissinger)
When my children were still children we decided to relocate to a place in the mountains not far from Mt. Lassen. We lived in Marin, and I was tired of traffic jams with Porches and BMW’s. I decided I’d rather look at pick-up trucks and backhoes on trailers. My children hated it. But not as much as they hated ten years later, when we sold the place. I spent my days repairing and maintaining old cabins for weekend rentals. One source of inconveniencewas people stopping off and requesting to use our phone. My standard response became to send them half mile down the road to use the payphone at a restaurant.
One afternoon when I was digging up a waterline something made me turn and look toward the road. A man was walking toward me, and my first thought was “here we go again”. But from a hundred yards, I sensed this man was different. Something about the way he placed his feet on the ground. With respect for the earth. So I dropped my shovel and walked to meet him. Confirming what I already knew. This was a special man, and Native American. I greeted him with courtesy and he made the expected request. So I walked with him to my house, another hundred yards. Somehow, it wasn’t necessary to speak. But when we entered the house, I introduced him to my wife and each of our children. When he used the phone, he spoke his native language. As we walked back outside, he said he had called his family for directions. It had been so many years he had forgotten the location of his family cemetery. He was on the way to bury his wife. He didn’t need to tell me how much he loved her. And I didn’t need to tell him how sorry I was. But the bond between us grew stronger as we walked back to the highway. As we walked around a larger building there was a row of Cadillac’s. We went to the first in line and I opened the door for him as he got inside. Then he got back out, stood and faced me. “My name is Frank Kitchen. I live in Sierraville. Everyone knows me. Ask and you will find me. I will take you fishing. I know where all the good fishing is.”
(Listening to the Wedlidi Speck interview triggered a memory I had written this.)