typical teenager of the 70’s, he spent hours playing baseball, tennis, band,
and dumping hard earned quarters into his favorite arcade games.
retired from the Air Force in 2000 and began working in the technology
department of a local sheriff’s office, where he will soon retire.
lover of both PC and console games, Bob has spent many hours immersed in the
lands of role playing and make-believe with friends and family. This is where
his love of writing took off as he and his online friends spent hours writing
epic tales of fantasy, love, and adventuring. Oh, and dragon slaying. One can’t
married to his best friend and love of his life, Pam. They live on their small
ranch/farm in Clarksville where Pam keeps him busy with the multitude of chores
that come with having three horses and four cats. He has three great kids who
are the lights of their life.
Fate Takes a Hike
This book is a result of a challenge I set myself in July of 2020.
I’ve always been a puttering kind of writer. Small stories here and there,
usually a result of some game I was playing or some small moment that caught my
eye or popped into my head.
One evening in July of 2020, my lovely wife and I were watching a
Hallmark movie. We enjoyed watching them as they always make you feel good and
we had our favorite sets of actors/actresses.
For some reason, that one night, I turned to my wife and said “You
know, I think I could write one of these stories. I’d make it a bit more edgy,
but I could do this. Guy, gal, plot, love story, conflict, happy ever after. I
could do that.”
She looked at me with that quirky smile of hers and said “You
probably could.” Then she went back to her reading.
For the next couple of days, I let my mind wander over story
ideas. ON July 7th, I opened of a Google Doc file, and 4 months
later, I had my first draft of the story.
I hope the story lets the readers know that when you let it, love can heal a broken heart and bring life and love back into your life.
Mist from the early morning rain clung to
the trees and mixed with the light breeze to cool the sweat on my face as I
walked up the small trail.
Just past the halfway point to the glade,
I stepped over the roots of old Splitjaw. At some point in its past, the aged
fir tree had been bent over and broken, creating a necklike structure where the
shattered ends split open, making the trunk look like the opened jaws of an
alligator. Kara, my fiancé, named it Splitjaw during our first hike in this
I smiled, thinking back to that day and
her silliness. She’d insisted that Splitjaw needed to be fed. She had dug
through her backpack and pulled out some beef jerky, which she opened and stuck
in its jagged “mouth.” Pleased with herself, she’d shouldered her pack and
continued with our trek.
Digging into one of the cargo pouches on
my pants, I pulled out the strips of beef jerky I brought with me for this very
moment. I unwrapped them and placed them into Splitjaw’s mouth. Pocketing the
wrapper, I patted the tree and proceeded on my way. Tradition satisfied.
was close to noon when I stepped out of the trees and into the clearing.
Sunlight bathed the meadow. The tall, waving grasses forming a sea of green,
almost like a calm lake. The lone Oregon white oak dominated the center of the
clearing, a soldier standing guard over the meadow and its denizens. I had no
idea how that acorn made it to this area, but I was happy that it had found a
Its branches spread outward to provide
shelter and shade to all those who gathered below them, perfect for the task I
had given it.
I drew in a cleansing breath, shaking
myself from my reverie, and continued walking until I stood under the oak’s
branches. I unshouldered my backpack and set it down against the tree before
letting one hand rest gently on its trunk.
“Sorry I’m late. I was finishing up some
drywall in one of the upstairs bedrooms and lost track of time.”
I bent down, opened up the pack, and
pulled out a collapsible rake. Unfolding it as I stood, I began clearing the
detritus of small limbs and leaves from around the area.
“It took longer than I planned, but I got
the flooring finished in the kitchen. I know we talked about that white
checkered slate tile, but it was out of stock and the backorder was going to
take too long. So, I ended up doing a grey, sixteen-inch tile that has four
small black diamonds in the center. I think it looks fantastic against the
I continued my rundown of my construction
highlights as I kept raking.
Satisfied that no limbs or leaves
remained, I collapsed the rake, stowed it back in the pack, and pulled out a
small set of shears. I squatted down on one knee and began trimming the grass
around the two small bronze markers. I worked in thoughtful silence, letting
the metallic snip-snip of the trimmers soothe my mind and heart as I cleared
back the grass and weeds that had grown since my last visit.
Once everything was pruned to my liking, I
stowed the shears and retrieved a small rag and bottle of brass cleaner.
Pouring a small bit of the solution onto my cloth, I began scrubbing the bird
droppings off the markers.
With the bronze gleaming again, I stowed
all of my tools and supplies and gazed down at the markers, telling myself I
wouldn’t cry even as the first tear worked its way down my cheek. Every time I
thought I had cried myself out, I found that with these two, I never would.
“I love you both,” I whispered, letting my fingers lightly brush the metal.
stood up, grabbing my backpack and swinging it up and onto my back. I shrugged
my shoulders a couple of times to seat the straps comfortably, then fastened
the belly band, tugging on it to make sure it was tight.
final, pained glance at the markers, I turned and headed east, passing quickly
out of the meadow and into the trees beyond.
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