Friday, December 7, 2018
With the dishes done, they found Gracie back at the dinner table, a spiral bound pad in front of her. “Now,” she said, “If you want desert you have to answer a few questions for me.” The two men looked at each other with a puzzled look. “Al,” she said, “You can go and make some coffee. I want to talk to Jimmy.” For the next twenty minutes or so she asked Jimmy to retell the story of how the Mayor saved his life. Al was smiling as he listened to Jimmy.
It seemed to Al that Jimmy didn’t miss a detail. Gracie heard how cold the water was, how every time he tried to step on the log it went under the water and he went with it. When he came to the part of the Mayor going under the water to pull him free, the excitement and emotion in his voice was as if he was still in the water. Jimmy was a very compelling storyteller.
Blueberry pie, ice cream, and coffee were the perfect desert. With a bit of pie filling in the corner of his mouth, Jimmy asked Gracie, “Why did you want to know all about the Mayor?” “Why, that is simple,” Gracie said, “I’m writing an article on our Mayor and how he saved your life. It will be on the front page this week.” In an instant Jimmy was up and out of his chair. “Oh boy,” he said, “Mayor Larry is gonna’ be a real honest-to-goodness hero.”
Al and Gracie ran the story for Wednesday’s edition. Many of the people in town knew ahead of time about the article. It seemed as though every place Jimmy went he was telling people of his narrow escape, and how brave the Mayor was. When the townsfolk allowed, not wanting to be disrespectful, he would go over every detail of the rescue. And Jimmy ended the story the same, every time. ‘Why,” he’d say, “Our Mayor is a real live hero.” So when the weekly came out, the headline, Mayor Saves Local Man, was no surprise.
Friday, November 30, 2018
Al said, “I’m going to find Jimmy, probably next door at Chuck’s, and talk to him about helping me out.” “I think it is a good idea,” Gracie said, “And I hear you and Larry are taking him fishing. You don’t know what that will do for that boy.”
Just as he thought, Al found Jimmy sitting on a stool at Chuck’s place. He sat on the stool next to him and asked Chuck for coffee. Jimmy seemed agitated and Al asked, “Jimmy, you seem kind of nervous. What’s the problem?” Jimmy fired back, “I don’t know, I’ve been kinda upset these past few days. I know it’s been a month or so since Ray left us. But, every time I walk by the paper and come here, I think of him. I just hope he’s doing okay.”
Turning on his stool, Al bent his head towards Jimmy, and whispered, “We’re gonna’ go fishin this Friday morning. Wanna go?” Jimmy exploded straight up and off his stool. In a flash he was up and dancing in a little circle and singing, “Gonna’ go a fishin’, gonna’ go a fishin’. Been a wishin’ and a wishin’, now I’m gonna’ go a fishin’. Goin fishing with Larry, Goin fishin’ with Larry. Gonna have me a shore lunch, fried taters and trout. Makes me so happy, think I’m gonna shout.”
Al sat on his stool laughing and Chuck came from the back to see what the commotion was. Jimmy was still dancing his little jig when Al grabbed him by the sleeve and asked him to sit down. Jimmy was like popcorn bouncing in a hot pan. Even when Al finally got him to sit, his legs were bouncing. Al said, “Now be ready and meet me here at five Friday morning. You don’t need to bring anything. Larry will have all the tackle.”
Friday, November 23, 2018
Gracie walked into the back room and said, “Sorry to interrupt.” Al said, “That’s fine, Jimmy, and I were just getting done back here, been talking a while. What’s up?” Gracie said, “I was writing down some information when you came in. We had another message on the answering machine. Kind of like the one back a while ago. Remember, somebody saw a person escorted down by the water. It seems like it happened again. This one is different, in a way.”
Al looked puzzled as Gracie continued. “The message was from a man, said he was a fisherman. Seems like he was on one side of the river, and he watched an outdoorsy type guy escort an old lady down to the water. He swears they got into a western style float boat and headed across the river. He said they were floating past him, about a hundred yards out. Said his view was blocked by some cedars, and he swears it was only for a moment, and the boat disappeared. He thought he might have lost them in the trees, but he’s pretty sure he didn’t.”
Jimmy sat quietly listening to Gracie. When she was finished, he seemed nervous. Al picked up on it, and asked. “What’s the matter Jimmy?” In a nervous voice, Jimmy responded, “Been strange things goin on around that river for as long as I can remember. You know the talk, goes way back, even to the times of the native folks. There is something strange bout that river.” Gracie walked over to Jimmy and put her hand on his shoulder, saying, “You don’t believe all that do you?”
“You know,” she said, “This is the kind of stuff Ray lived for.” Al told her that the story seemed more mysterious than the previous. But, he wasn’t sure that there was anything worth looking into. She agreed and told him that she would keep the information and if something else came up, they should look into it. Gracie went back to the office area and put the note up on her board.