Author : David C. Nutt
“You think I’m crazy?”
Sammy stopped hammering the board he was working on and turned to the old man. “Just because your building a boat dock in the middle of a Kansas wheat field, 417 miles from the ocean? Let’s just say I think you’re a tad bit eccentric and leave it at that Gramps.”
The old man chuckled. “Sense of humor will carry you far Sammy, so will your patience. For what it’s worth, thank you for helping me with my little project. If it makes you feel better consider the whole thing performance art. That way I get to be eccentric and avant-garde instead of bat shit crazy.”
It was Sammy’s turn to chuckle. In spite of everything he loved the old man “OK Grandpa, I give up? Why a dock? Why not a Gazebo or a shack?”
“I grew up in Maine, by the sea. My whole life revolved around the ocean. More rights of passage than I can tell you in a year and a day. Thought I would live and die there just like all my kin before me. Then I met your grandmother and we came out here. Haven’t regretted coming out here for a New York minute, but I miss sittin’ on the dock and just dangling my feet over the edge.” The old man shook his head. “That’s the most of it.”
They worked on in silence, and finally hammered the last board in. Sammy and his Grandfather put their tools down. Both sat on the end of the dock dangling their feet over the edge. Again, Sammy broke the silence. “You said that the dangling your feet thing was ‘most of it’; what’s the rest of it.”
His grandfather smiled. “You always did listen with more than your ears Sammy. The ‘rest of it’ is what my gramps said to me when I told the family I was leaving the ocean for the plains. He said ‘where will you go to meet your ship?’ Unlike me gramps was crazy. But even a broken clock is right twice a day. Thing that came back to me since, was something I took for granted, livin’ by the coast. I didn’t think about until just the other day. It seems to me that no matter where a dock was, eventually a ship would stop there.”
Sammy threw the tools in the back and helped his grandfather into his pickup. “You expecting your ship to come in?”
His grandfather sighed. “Don’t rightly know. Just don’t want miss it for lack of a place to dock.” They drove back to the farmhouse in silence.
Two days later the sky darkened late in the day heralding what could only be a tornado, but the sirens never warned of an approaching twister. Just heavy fog, heavier air; thunder and lightning. When the storm lifted they couldn’t find the old man. Sammy’s Aunt thought she saw him go out to the dock. Sammy and the others fanned out over the field. The only thing they found was his bandana, carefully folded and left on the edge of the dock. The presiding theory was he was swept away by a twister; one that nobody saw coming. It made some sense. Certainly the low air pressure they experienced felt like a tornado. Sammy knew different. He stood on the end of the dock and looked out on the waves of grain. He smiled. They finished just in time.