Of Time and An Oak Tree

“Why are you sitting inside the shade of a grand old oak tree?”
“Feels good. I have time these days for feeling good.”
“What are you thinking about?”
“I was resting, not thinking; but since you ask I’ll tell you that this oak tree will likely outlive me.”
“Woe is you?”
“No, the oak tree is even prettier than I am.”
“Your hair is going grey, old man.”
“Call me silver, not grey. You seem jealous of my distinguished countenance.”
“You’re reading from one of those digital affairs. Good to see a man of your generation accepting modern technology.”
“You’re in a sarcastic mood today; and I don’t care to entertain you, but –“
“I meant my comment as a compliment.”
“You lie, but that’s all right, because I’m older than Bill Gates, and look what he accomplished.”
“He was young back then.”
“So was I. And before you mention the subject of money; no, I’m not wealthy, but I’m rich and I’m brilliant.”
“Rich. What are you now, a metaphysical hippie?”
“Those days bred bitterness. I’m finished with looking sour upon the world around me.”
“Sorry.”
“That’s untrue.”
“Yep. What are you reading anyway?”
“Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of The Vanities. Back in 1987 I felt far too busy to read long books. Care to join me for a cup of non-fat frozen yogurt? These days I’m addicted to the stuff.”
“Cheesus, you are metaphysical by nature. I’ll just watch. But don’t talk with your mouth full. You do remember what Mother always said about people who made noises when they ate, yes?”
“Forget Mother. The yogurt shop’s near a pond. Switch scenes, please.”

“So, okay, what do you make of Bonfire?

“Ronnie Reagan’s time frame. I liked Ronnie in many ways. Please, if you own a sense of mercy, don’t tell my former colleagues and current friends I said that, because they’re bound to take my admiration the wrong way, being confirmed Liberals on the outside.”

“So you’ve given me a weapon. Thanks.”

“Employ that sword and you’ll wound yourself.”

“Back to Ronnie.”

“No, rather back to restaurants, credit cards, too much wine and joyful extravagance. I loved it all. The aroma of garlic at Mama Mia’s, the shiny plastic tarjetas and the heady feel of false inebriation.”

“But you spent too much money, fool.”

“Regrets, I’ve had a few.”

“Please, not The Voice. Not tonight.”

“I sing well, and at one time I danced even better. Without lessons. Yes, you heard me. I never was much for form, although watching two romantics perform a Tango inspires me to believe I might yet be a sensual lover.”

“That yogurt’s going to your head.”

“Better than booze. Want to ride inside my blue pickup truck?”

“Where to?”

“A bench by the beach.”

“What’s got into you?”

“Friendship, affection and the thought of death.”

“Drive on.

“It’s windy here. Cold, too. But, I’ll bite. Why death?”

“I’ve faced my brother’s in recent days, and that always means facing one’s own.”
“Sad, are you?”
“No longer. You should have tried some yogurt. Tasted good; and I enjoy the breeze here.”
“Must you just sit these days? No more with writing?”
“My story of Frank Shaver continues, but I won’t say much more.”
“Just a bit, then?”
“Well, Frank’s sitting in his cell naked. He’s angry. He has an erection, and he’s demanding that the guards give him back his hat.”
“I shouldn’t have asked. What else are you up to besides sitting?”
“Sent a birthday card to a dear friend’s father. He’s going to be ninety years old. I included photographs of seven cats whose company I’ve enjoyed throughout the years. As well, I’m following the tales of a fellow writer who’s soon to celebrate his seventy-first. Gorgeous photographs there. He doesn’t realize this, but I’ve tracked down his location on several maps. If he weren’t such a sweet curmudgeon, I’d send him a card, the old-fashioned way.

“And tomorrow evening I’ll join yet another friend for supper. She’s lovely and loyal.”

“I guess you’re busier than I at first assumed.”
“Like I said, friendship, affection and the thought of death.”
“Of Time and The River?”
“No, an oak tree. I suspect that you’re thinking of the first Thomas, the giant with the tousled hair.”

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