Smallville, USA is about thirty minutes from Nowhere, USA. Smallville is a small town for small town people. My grandfather was one of those small town people. He owned a small camp on a small lake near Smallville.
Kosoag Lake. From what I remember of the historical facts I gathered from growing up, asking questions, and pretending to listen, Kosoag Lake was earth. The lake was a part of Native American land flooded out for God knows what reason. In essence, it is a man-made lake, and that is why it is clean and beautiful. The water doesn’t contain oily swirls created by Mercury 250’s flying by as extreme sportists hang on for dear life. There is no room for that kind of foreplay here.
The water is deep yet dense with seaweed. Tree stumps lay patiently at the bottom of the clear water waiting for kids, who think they’re Jacques Cousteau, to discover with a mask and snorkel. Canoeing is the most exercise you’ll get off Kosoag Lake. To canoe across the entire lake would only take thirty minutes or so. Or one can paddle for a good 10 minutes and reach the only bar within miles of the winding, motor home populated, dead deer ridden roads: Kosoag Lake Inn. And this where it all began, or where it all ended.
First I’ll start from sort of the beginning, the beginning you should know about. My Grandfather; Papa; Grandpa Ryan; David; always smoked Camels. Camel non filters. His wife Nana; Grandma Ryan; Mildred; always smoked Pall Malls. Pall Mall filters. Nana passed away when I was young. I was watching Willow. I didn’t understand the movie and will never understand death.
Fast forward ten years...
Sitting at an empty seat at the Kosoag Lake Inn, where there will always be ...
... middle of paper ...
... decided that it was their time to leave camp forever. Everything was perfect and it was going to be from now on. Then that damn Reebok shoe, all dirty, dusty and worn in, caught my vision. The shoe was my grandfather’s.
No he wasn’t dreaming of aluminum canoes and velvet ducks inside. He had walked away without one shoe. If I was an optimist I’d say that Papa had walked away with one shoe. A dead man’s shoe can’t just walk back into life like it never left. If Papa wasn’t with his shoe, then the shoe becomes useless. The shoe can’t protect anything. It can’t make anything look or feel better. It can’t come here nor there. The shoe can’t come back to this life without it’s owner. And Papa wasn’t coming back with only one shoe. That would look much too asinine for a man of his stature.
I miss him dearly and in missing him, am afraid to make a few steps myself.
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