Saturday, May 27, 2017

Blackmon 1

Giving in, Eddie told Charlene, Blackmon's sister, that Blackmon had moved to Montana.


Where, asked Charlene, agitated with her cell phone in the hallway to a bar's women's restroom, having easily found the number to Charlie's east end barbershop.


Didn't say, replied Eddie, conflicted. Just said Montana.


When?


Well, a few weeks ago, anyway. Ain't always real exact with days and dates lately.


What about my father?


Didn't say nothin' about that to me. And it a thing I'd be askin' about.


How did he go there? Did he drive? Fly?


I believe he said somethin' about rentin' a car and takin' his time.


How did he seem?


Well, it was a phone conversation. Couldn't see his face. Sounded fine far as I could tell. Maybe a little more...


A little more what.


Relaxed, maybe. I dunno.


A vacation?


Nope. Said he was movin' there.


Really.


What he said. Then he said I gotta go, I'll see you in the mail, I said alright and we hung up.


As did Charlene hang up then on Eddie, as Eddie relayed the story to Blackmon in writing in reply to the letter Eddie did finally received from Blackmon a month after Charlene had called Eddie looking for Blackmon and their father Charlie.


Charlie "Stomper" Blackmon, who by the time Charlene called Eddie, had been dead a month. And it wasn't Montana Eddie had driven the car he had indeed rented, he'd gone with a suitcase and not much else, and the urn that held Charlie's ashes west to Texas. Drove straight to a piece of the Trans-Pecos he'd bought months previously.


Bought a double-wide and had it delivered.    


He tells me it's enough to call it "near Pandale" and leave it at that.


He knew Eddie would tell Charlene Montana and he knew why and didn't blame him, even though he'd told him to not tell Charlene if she calls. Eddie had of course noted the Texas postmark on the envelope carrying Blackmon's letter, in which he wrote that he'd just changed his mind at the last minute, citing second thoughts about Montana winters, and some synchronicity regarding hearing a Freddie Fender song.


He also wrote to let him know Charlie had died. Blackmon had come to regret having not told Eddie earlier, no matter that it was something Blackmon knew Eddie would tell Charlene. Which is why he'd held it back. But it had come to make him ill, he told me on the first occasion he let me record our conversation, a crisp November sunrise with coffee and his three dogs on the front porch that he built and attached to the home he calls the barn, painted red.


Or the brick sometimes when we approach it from afar on foot or in his jeep.


More on Blackmon, who is nearing seventy, lean as a nail, a gait one keeps up with, and a handgun along when we go for our sunset hikes.


For rattlesnakes, just in case, and rabbit stew, if we stir a couple of 'em outta the sand. 


More on Cole Eugene later.

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