In The Spring, A Young Man ( a story)
by Nancy Ames
One day the other week, I went up the road to a neighbour`s farm
to borrow some seeds because the day before a big flock of crows
had descended on the tiny plants in my corn patch and pretty much
wiped it out. It was therefore a rural emergency. Their place is
only about half a mile away, so I decided to walk over there instead
of taking the truck. I enjoyed the walk. The woods were greening up
with new leaves, an amazing number of birds were singing, and there
were only a few sleepy mosquitoes out and about that early in the
It would have been too awful rude to just borrow the corn seeds and
run, if you know what I mean, so I ended up accepting my neighbour`s
offer of a snack and something to drink, which turned out to be a huge
home-made bread and cheese and sprout sandwich and a mug of apple cider.
So I was sitting there at their big old kitchen table, munching mightily,
when the screen door banged open suddenly and one of our local rock stars
came in, holding his battered guitar by the neck like a cave-man carries
his club. It was well before noon on a Sunday morning and I don`t think
the young man had slept the night before, although he had more than likely
been to bed. He still reeked strongly of some late-night bar-scene, which
would probably be located in one of the small towns around here.
This particular rock-star is generally considered to be one of our best
looking youngsters, but today I couldn`t help but notice his bloodshot
eyes, the peculiar greenish colour of his face, and the stumbling way
he was walking in his brand-new cowboy boots.
He looked at my neighbour, who was standing in his overalls at the kitchen
sink, and croaked, "Hey, man - do you got any aspirin? I don`t feel too good."
My neighbour is an "organic" farmer with a growing family, and he is almost
obsessive about health. He has whole bunches of books about it and he has
his own theories too. He considers himself to be an authority on the subject.
He took one indignant look at the young musician and pounced, giving vent to
a lengthy diatribe on the importance of eating properly, having regular habits
and avoiding toxins, et cetera, most of which passed by the young man`s ears
like an unpleasant wind.
But now the talkative farmer was taking a small bottle of aspirin out of the
kitchen cupboard, so the young man stood there stubbornly with his free hand
out, his morning-after eyes glaring balefully ahead. Finally, my neighbour
went so far as to give him a rather severe diagnosis, I thought, of imminent
liver failure and the likely necessity of organ-transplant surgery in the
At that point, the rock-star frowned and grabbed the bottle of aspirin out
of the farmer`s gesturing fingers, muttered something both short and rude,
and turned himself around and staggered outside. A few hysterically whining
mosquitoes darted into the kitchen and the screen door banged shut again.
With great urgency my neighbour hurried over to the screen door and, holding
it wide open, hollered after the rock-star, "Hey, man, if you want a second
opinion..." He took a deep breath so that he could yell even louder: "Hey,
man! If you want a second opinion my wife`s out there in the yard, eh?"
From the general direction of the main road I could hear an engine rev up
and tires kicking up gravel as the heavy car fish-tailed onto the pavement.
I hastily choked down the rest of the sandwich and followed them outside,
escaping from the gathering cloud of mosquitoes in the kitchen. I waved a
cheery goodbye and went along home. I remember laughing a lot when I was
chasing the crows out of my cornfield.
Author's Note: about a confrontation between the two extremes of "new-age" personalities
Posted on 05/12/2018
Copyright © 2019 Nancy Ames