Surrounded by strangers, the shade of the San Jacinto blended with the tinted windows of the Greyhound as we all rolled through the darkness about the Coachella Valley. The seat next to me, occupied by my grandfather’s backpack and blanket had no words for me. Without my fishing companion, I sadly travelled alone, my void being filled only by the voice of a now too familiar ghost.
The annoying spirit, recently and often reminded me that as designated keeper of the “Forgotten Tale”, I must have it. Out of habit, I reached into my coat pocket for reassurance that I still possessed my Grandfather’s letter of introduction, hoping that upon arrival to the village of Saint Francis, his prose would deliver the tale to me.
For nearly a decade, since I stopped fishing for my bride’s smile, I had, on occasion, tried to decipher the content of his letter, wondering why my Grandfather chose to be so mysterious about it…..why my father had taken so long, before his passing, to give me his father’s directive.
Traveling across New Mexico’s rich red clay, in my one hundredth year, as instructed, I followed, the stars and green shrubbery eastward to the foot of the Sangre de Cristo, still sensing that finding a blanket matching the color and pattern of the one given to me, seemed as unlikely as finding someone with it that would lead me to the “Forgotten Tale”.
With a heavy sigh, I tucked letter into my pocket, and with one breath, I imagined……..