Ole Herm’s Crisp Day

There was no other way to describe the morning, other than crisp. A thin layer of frost covered everything and a thin layer of moister hovered just above that. The glow of the day emerged from behind the hills to the east; bold, pink, and inspiring.

An old Army field jacket was climbed into and armed myself with a freshly brewed cup of Joe. I stepped out into the yard to greet the day properly. That’s something you have to do. It seems as if it starts the prospects of the day on good terms. You never want a day to be angry with you.

Now, indeed, it does happen from time to time. The day just comes upon you like a mad dog with a dog dish one chain link too far away. It’s best to nudge the dish closer with a stick and wait till the mood leaves.

Ole Herm limped down the path from his house just up the way. His leg was pretty much rendered useless in the war, but that never slowed him from a good day’s work and a good weekend of fun.

“Hey, Speed,” he say to me, “can I go inside a pour a cup for myself?”

“Sure, Herm,” I said. “I brewed it just the way you like it.”

A few minutes later Hermjoined me as the sun just popped over the top of the hills.

“It’s a crisp day, isn’t it, Speed,” Herm said.

“Sure is,” I said.

“A man can get a lot done on a crisp day,” Herm said.

“Yep,” I said, “some days drain you, other days fill you. Crisp days make you glad to be alive.”

“Whatcha got going today?” Herm said squinting his eyes and sipping the coffee.

“Little this and a little of that,” I said.

“Do you think you can squeeze me in?” Herm said.

“Sure,” I said, “whatcha got?”

“You see,” Herm said pressing his lips, “the doctor says there’s not a whole lot of time left. So I want to settle some things.”

“Like what?” I said.

“I just want to talk,” Herm said.

“How ‘bout we go inside and I’ll fix us a proper breakfast.” I said. “We can sit at the kitchen table and talk. My this and that can be squeezed.”

“I’m in no hurry,” Herm said. “I figure the quicker we get to the house the quicker other things will take place. I’m ready, but I don’t want to hurry things.”

“I understand.”

Herm gazed at the woods and followed the sun’s glow casting its warmth on the field down the way.

“I sure like crisp days,” Ole Herm said.

We finished the coffee and walked to the house. Herm sat at the kitchen table looking out at the morning coming into bloom. We talked as I prepared the breakfast.

“You want your bacon just like the morning, crisp?” I said.

“I like it when it snaps,” Herm said.

A plate of scrambled eggs, potatoes, and four strips of crisp bacon was slid in front of Herm.

“Thank you, Speed,” Herm said.

“I’ll join ya in a minute,” I said. “I’m going to wash my hands.”

When I came back Herm was slumped over to the side like he fell asleep. On his plate, the food untouched and the four strips of crisp bacon; one snapped in two.

I bought his headstone and had engraved on it, “He died on a crisp day.”



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