• A New Friend

    My heart broke just a little bit today- my visit with a dear friend came to an end, at least for now.

    I should have expected it, but I didn’t, and I was not prepared. It hit me right between the eyes when I turned a page- only to realize that the printing stopped about ¾ of the way down, that the end was near, just a couple paragraphs left.

    I got my initial, albeit brief, introduction to my friend either here on the pages of iPinion, or on iPinion’s Facebook page, oh, sometime in the last month. I don’t remember who, but somebody mentioned him, and I made a note to myself that we needed to become better acquainted.

    Amazon handled our formal introduction, for a modest fee, of course, and we’ve been inseparable for the better part of the last week.

    His name is Turpentine.

    He came with a drawing of an American Bison on his soft, front cover, with the wide-open prairie, and book tributes, on the back- and a mesmerizing journey of colorful characters and plot twists and turns galore in between.

    There have been thousands of western novels written, perhaps hundreds of thousands. In my 55 years, I have only had two of them as dear friends- and now I have three.

    When this place we call “Zoomanji” is finally settled, when all the boxes are unpacked, and everything is in its proper place, my dear friend Turpentine will sit prominently on the bookshelf between Michener’s Centennial and McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove.

    I would be ecstatic if he were also to join them someday on The Big Screen.

    Though I somehow did not realize it at first, it turns out his name came up because his mom, Spring Warren, is one of we lucky ipinionated folks- in fact, the most prolific of us all.

    Until I read the inside jacket, I also did not know that she was practically a neighbor, that The Quarter Acre Farm was so close by, and that she had consulted with one of my favorite authors, John Lescroart, along the way.

    Of course, I am not going to reveal any of the plot, not give you even the slightest of hints. You are just going to have to take my word for it: it’s a Western, with a couple of Eastern bounces, and is set in the 1870s. It’s also exceptional, and a must-read.

    However, I will tell you that, assuming Ms. Warren has no objections, I will ask that a part of my dear friend’s Afterword be read at any service they may have for me after I am gone, or perhaps even as my ashes are being spread to the breezes and currents of Monterey Bay, near Berwick Park:

    “Yet as the past is relegated, one steps closer to the fact that the end and the beginning are much the same. Eventually no one owns identity. If we exist at all after we are gone, it will be as a story, as a symbol, as something in thrall to another’s life. You will be a mere cautionary tale, an inspiration, a shame, a way to make someone laugh, a means to learn about that abstraction called history. You will become a fossil through which no blood courses, the shape of which you cannot choose.”

    The honor will be mine.

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