Sunday, March 03, 2013

The Daybreakers

It's been 15 months since I've written anything here. A few small things have happened since then (I got engaged, bought a house, had some work changes, etc) in that time. Perhaps I'll catch readers up at some point down the road.

Last night Amanda and I checked out Black and Read, a used music, book, and board game store in Arvada that is so overrun with geek memorabilia, it might soon appear on the tv show Hoarders.

As I walked down dusty aisles overflowing with books stacked behind boxes of more books, I came across a row of Louis L'Amour novels and was instantly transported back to my Grandma Margaret Turnbull's house in Kingsport, Tennessee, where as a child I read and reread the entire L'Amour catalog. These were some of the first adult books I remember discovering and although I wonder now if they would read as cliched as their covers appear, growing up I loved getting lost amidst high mesas and desperate situations.

To adolescent me, L'Amour's books were about heroes, hard men who were quick on the draw and even quicker to defend the honor of any man woman or child along the way. One of my favorites was Flint, about a dying man who moves back west to live out his last days in peace---until he gets caught up defending a beautiful rancher from land grabbers and assassins.

Discovering these books in my Grandma's basement was one of the first bonds I remember feeling with her. A stern seeming woman of few words, Grandma was my least favorite grandparent. Now she is the one I identify with the most. My father more than once said that Grandma was born too early, that had she been born in another time, she would have run a company rather than just served as bookkeeper for one. The older I get, the more I wish I could go back and build a stronger relationship with her; to know her as an adult. She has been dead nearly eight years so there's not much chance of that. These days I find myself thinking back to those few days each year in Tennessee, laying in bed in the near darkness before dawn, waiting for Grandma to walk down the hall and start a pot of coffee--the signal that another day could start. I'd creep downstairs too then, and with the rest of the family still abed, the two of us would sit in the kitchen reading westerns.

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