A fool keeps talking when a wise man knows not to.
A fool keeps talking when a wise man knows not to.
There is such incredible beauty all around us, all we have to do is look…
“Mama, mama, it’s okay! I gots summtin mama! It’s okay! You don’t got to cry no more! I’s found gold Mama!” Ell heard the screen door slam behind him and knew that he would probably be in trouble for it. His mother hated it when the screen door slammed. But he also knew that he had found the answer to all their troubles.
“Mama, Mama I found gold! We is rich! We can move Mama! Mama!”
The little boy was in such a hurry to find his mother that he rushed into their trailer without looking where he was stepping. Within a few feet he became aware of the broken glass. He noticed the blood on his unshod feet before he felt the pain. All he could do was stand and stare. He stared at the overturned table, the broken glass, and his mama flat on her back, snoring.
Repeating something he had done many, many times in the past the little boy set about straightening the room and cleaning up the broken glass. He cleaned up the blood and he cleaned up his mama. Eventually she would awake and not remember anything. Sometime she didn’t even remember him.
The next morning the young boy stood excitedly in front of his mother. In a very soft voice he said, “It’s gold Mama, it’s gonna be alright.” He stretched his little arms as far as he could and opened his fingers to present his mother with this precious find.
The woman in question slouched over their very tiny kitchen table. She squinted through the smoke from the cigarette she clenched in her teeth at the newspaper front of her. She had a pen in one hand and a chipped glass of a questionable liquid in the other. When young boy spoke, she closed one eye and looked up.
For a long moment the woman stared at the item her son held out for her perusal. When she finally spoke the fatigue in her voice told her story of hardship and sacrifice.
“Elliott that’s fool’s gold, it has no value, it ain’t real. It’s just a pretty stone. Why don’t you go outside and play, I need to find a new job.”
The little boy everyone called Ell put his prized possession in his pocket and backed out of the trailer he shared with his mother. But’s gold mama, it’s gold. He thought to himself. Everything is going to be all right now, you’ll see.
“Mr. Bellamy sir it is a great pleasure to see you, will you be dining at your usual table?”
“Yes Andrews I will thank you.”
Very posh restaurants understand the hierarchy involved in their clientele. There are those patrons who come in once or perhaps twice and are seated according to availability. There are those patrons who while regulars, only dine there occasionally. And then there are those clients who are favoured. They frequent the establishment and have developed a rapport with the staff. As these patrons are usually wealthy, the wait staff is attentive and accommodating. After all favoured patrons are worth their weight in gold. They may spend money but they also advertise a place that they like.
When Mr. Bellamy had been seated in his usual table and had been given his usual pre-dinner glass of wine it seemed as if the evening was going to progress in its usual manner. He would dine alone as was his habit on Thursday nights. He would have one glass before dinner of Cabernet Sauvignon and one with his meal. Dinner would consist of steak medium rare, golden brown fried mushrooms, asparagus lightly sautéed, baked potato with all the trimmings and a small dish of vanilla ice cream for dessert. It wasn’t a terribly high-class meal but Mr. Bellamy tipped well.
When he had finished his repast, Mr. Bellamy carefully blotted his lips with his napkin. He signed for the meal, complemented the chef and the waiters and prepared to take his leave.
“Excuse me sir, Mr. Bellamy.”
A young man had materialized out of the restaurant and had his hand on the chair opposite Mr. Bellamy.
“I am just leaving young man; you are welcome to the table.”
“Actually sir, I need to take a few moments of your time. It is rather important.”
The gentleman in question motion for the young man to take the seat opposite him and signalled to the waiter for another glass of wine.
“Would you join me young man? It is a delightful wine.”
As the stranger seated himself at the table, he nodded his assent.
Once the wine had been poured and both gentlemen had savoured the flavour Mr. Bellamy spoke.
“I am assuming that you are here to tell me you have discovered my sordid past.”
The young man sat with a stunned look on his face, his glass of wine frozen between the table and his mouth.
“Sir I, I just thought…”
“You thought that you were the first to discover my background and that it would make juicy reading for a public that relishes bad news. You thought that I would be ashamed of my past. I’m guessing for a modest sum you would be willing to withhold that information. Am I right young man?”
“Sir, information like this can be quite damaging…”
“Really? To whom?”
“Well sir you have a reputation, a position. I hardly think this information…”
Mr. Bellamy smiled; he even chuckled a little at the perplexed young man sitting across from him.
“My poor disillusioned young man. You judge everything based on a standard that does not exist. I was not born into wealth, I did not win any money, I earned my wealth based on an ideal. Unlike you who is looking for a ‘get rich quick’ scheme and thought I was fair game.”
Now the young man was starting to squirm in his seat. This was not going according to plan at all. He realized that his ploy to extort money from this wealthy man had failed miserably. He wanted desperately to leave the table and hide but was afraid to even attempt it.
“Yes I had humble beginnings: I lived in a trailer park with my mother. We were poor but we had but one thing that money cannot buy: we had love. I know it sounds trite but we supported each other even during the bad times.”
At this point Mr. Bellamy’s eyes seemed to glaze over as he took a little jaunt down memory lane. He remembered his mother and her drinking. He remembered how she always tried to stay positive around him. He also remembered the very first time he saw fool’s gold. It was that shiny substance that was beginning of his journey. And this poor young man thought he was ashamed of his past. His mother had overcome her demons and was now a successful designer. He had built a large corporation that was varied and worth millions. It just goes to show you what someone can do with a little hard work and sacrifice.
“By the way young man, did you catch the name of this restaurant? It’s called FOOL’S GOLD. Now do you understand?”
Doing something that frightens you can be invigorating!
Some people really shouldn’t swim in the gene pool.
My mind never stops thinking but sometimes it doesn’t talk to me.
God is in the whisper,
You hear between the words.
God is in the rainbow,
As He flies amongst the birds.
The dew upon a petal,
The breath of a sleeping child.
I see this and I know,
My gentle Lord has smiled.
He guides the path I walk,
I never am alone.
But a day will come,
My sins I must atone.
Even then He’ll stay,
For truly is He love.
For each and every one of us,
He cares from up above.
The first day of the rest of your life is important but so is the 2nd and 3rd day and the 20,000 after that. Be positive, be kind, live well.
We all have to be part of the solution.
Andrew heaved a sigh of relief. It had been a busy night but now the bar was empty and he was looking forward to cashing out and going home. Not bad for a summer gig but it was exhausting work. As he turned around to polish down the bar one more time, he noticed a man sitting at the end.
“Hey man I didn’t see you sitting there, sorry about that. What can I get you?” Andrew looked expectantly at the man and wondered if he’d seen him somewhere before. He looked familiar.
The party in question raised his head slightly and quietly said “beer, whatever you got on tap”.
Andrew hurried to comply. The sooner this guy drank up his beer the sooner Andrew could get out of here. As the bartender turned back to his patron, he noticed the man looking at the five shots of rum that were always kept at the end of the bar.
Ever a friendly sort Andrew proceeded to explain. “There’s a cool story about those shots of rum. The original owner of the bar and his four shipmates went down at sea in a storm. These are to honour them. Cool story don’t you think?” Andrew expected this patron to react the way everyone else did: to smile and then to go on to talk about something else. No one likes to talk about death too often it’s, well, depressing.
“It was’na cool, it was cold. Bitterly cold. You have’na got the story right.” The person speaking barely raised his head and he spoke so quietly that Andrew had to stop what he was doing and pay attention.
“Only four died that night. Tonight. 100 years ago tonight there was a storm. They thought they were safe. They anchored in a small bay and left one on watch to make sure everything was okay. Everything wasn’t okay. It was cold. Just one quick little sip of gin would warm you up. Problem is one little sip ended up becoming a whole bottle. It was a bugger of storm. But sailors are used to sleeping when the boat rolls. They count on their shipmate on watch to let them know if there’s any danger. But he fell asleep. Too much grog. When the big wave hit, he got tossed into the drink. Saved his life. Shipmates were asleep below deck. The sea took ‘em. The sea doesn’t give back what she takes. She’s a jealous mistress.”
Andrew was stunned. “How do you know this? How do you know what happened? And what happened to the fifth guy that went overboard?”
The man looked up and Andrew could see his face and realized that he was an old man. He looked broken and sad. Andrew looked a little more closely and realized where he’d seen his face before. He took a step back and watched.
“Insurance money paid for this bar and its name tells the story of what happened that night: The Broken Anchor. One man survived and lived with the guilt of what he had done. He lived and for the next 40 years made a toast to his four shipmates every night with four tots of rum. Their ghosts can’t drink them but everybody should know how they died.”
“Cecil. His name was Cecil. I remember now. He was buried at sea. When he died, he asked that the name of the bar never be changed and a measure of rum be added to the others so that there are now five. I love the history of the area and that one is definitely one for the books. Man, that is so cool! You must be a relative, you look just like the picture in the office. ” Andrew was excited and turned away to grab a pen and a piece paper to write down this newfound knowledge. When he turned back the party he had been speaking to was gone. There was water pooling on the stool and the floor. There was another damp spot on the bar along with a piece of seaweed and an empty shot glass.
At first he was confused thinking he’d imagined all of this but when he looked to the end of the bar the remaining four shots of rum were also gone, emptied. A chill went up Andrew’s back and for the first time in a very long time he grew afraid of the dark.
At that precise moment he heard the local church bell ring 2 o’clock in the morning. Gusts of wind rattled the panes of glass in the front window and Andrew for just a moment was sure he heard several men singing. He couldn’t quite make out the words but was pretty sure he heard the name Cecil B. The name of the boat . . .
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