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Sunday, November 04, 2012

The Souvenir


Night lights.

* The Souvenir

Jess returned home from the war on a warm, sunny day in March.

He was greeted at the family farm by his mother and his older sister. During supper of his favorite roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy and homemade apple cobbler, his mom detailed everything he would need to do the next day, not the least of which was getting the equipment ready for spring planting.

He went upstairs to unpack his duffle bag.

A little later he came back down and put his war souvenir on the mantle over the fireplace. He plopped down on the sofa where he could proudly gaze upon its beauty. After doing the dishes, his mother came in the living room to join him. "What is that thing," she demanded.

"That is art!"

"I don't want it in this house. Get rid of it," she told him. "And I don't ever want to see it again."

So, the next morning, Jess toted it across the 40 acres to the far side of the farm, where he buried it in a deep hole about 40 feet from the road into town. And he set about doing his daily chores.

Nothing much changed for Jess over the next 65 or so years. His mother passed on. His sister got married and moved into town. But Jess stayed with the farm, content to work the land until he was no longer able to.

When Jess started to become a little feeble and unable to get around on his own, his niece and nephew came in and took over. After much discussion, they put Jess in a nursing home, where they pretty much forgot about him. Not knowing anything about the operation of a farm, and having no desire to hire out the farming, they sold the land to a developer for a very tidy sum.

Then, one warm, sunny day in March of 2012, a work crew was out there on what was once the far side of the farm. As they were excavating the land for a new shopping center and accompanying parking lot to be built, they dug it up. The souvenir. It was a rather large World War II Soviet mortar shell. The Department of Defense was called in to remove and dispose of it. And, yes, after all these years, it was still alive.

News of the incident spread and folks around town wondered amongst themselves just how in the hell the Soviets had gotten so close back then.

This has been a work of fiction. For the most part.

Posted by Marie at November 4, 2012 7:57 PM