Monday, August 13, 2012


I'm pretty sure no one checks in anymore, so I feel safe in posting a small excerpt of the longer work I've been writing while I have not been blogging. It's only a few paragraphs, but hopefully it will make any ghosts left around here happy.
 Jack looked intently at the old man. Unable to contain himself any longer, he asked abruptly, “Did you really ride for the Confederacy?”
The old man’s brow wrinkled, and his countenance darkened. He searched the younger man’s face for any hint of ridicule. After a moment, he nodded slowly. “Over two years,” he said, “I gave all I had. I watched good men and good horses give their lives to the cause. Two years that were longer than the rest of my eighty-five years combined.” He leaned back in his wheelchair, his gnarled hands pulling the plaid wool blanket higher in his lap. His eyes closed and he whispered, “Yes. I rode and fought plenty.”
Jack nodded, unsure if he should carry on. Resolutely he asked, “Were you a really a captain? Not to be insulting, but when I was a kid every old soldier that my dad knew claimed to be a colonel, a major, a general or a spy. I never knew a war could be fought without regular soldiers.”
Now the old man chuckled. His eyes opened and sparkled like a younger man’s and his lips curled into a crooked grin showing what few teeth he had left. For a moment, Jack thought he could see the visage of a much younger man. Younger, stronger and handsome… The face of a warrior looked back at him.
“Oh yes,” The old man said, his voice breaking with amusement. “For the better part of a month at the end of the war I was Captain Ross. Seventeen years old, all brass and balls. I was promoted after the last of our officers were killed or wounded too bad to go on. No one else wanted it. I tried to get our first sergeant to take it. He was a good man. He told me that he’d rather be a yankee than an officer and that he’d rather be dead than either one.” He snorted to himself and thrust his chin toward the younger man, “What about you, boy? Were you officer material in the Great War?”
“No sir,” Jack replied, smiling back earnestly. “Corporal was as high as I ever made it, and they took that away from me twice.”