I’m so financially well off that I’ve managed to blur the distinction between poor and broke.

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Seems as I can remember last year as if it were jus’ yesterday.

Red Robin Goes Full Redneck


Our big New Year’s Eve celebration was to Red Robin in the early afternoon. We learned that they have instituted a new ‘napkin’ system; paper towel rolls at each table.

My wife took a picture to send to her sister. Their mother, Helen, was a BIG fan of the Robin. They both agreed she’d be disappointed with the new napkins.

Privately, I didn’t find anything wrong with it — as this is kinda how I was raised.

Visitor on the Wing

“Effing buzzards,” I complained as I glance skyward hoping to catch sight of one.

They were nothing knew, in fact I generally welcomed their company along with the occasional condor, hawks, ravens and crow. But because of the hot sun, a lack of decent water and an inability to catch a ride, the straight trek was baring down on me and I was feeling put off.

Since no one was stopping to give me a ride that early morning, I had dropped over the side of the roadway to do some exploring amid the rocky debris field. Sometimes there was an item worth finding, either lost or purposeful disposed of by a passing motorist.

Still those shadows from overhead persisted and the more that streamed by, casting their shadows over me, the angrier I became. I stopped and took a longer than usual pull from my canteen, now filled with warm, brackish-tasting water. Still it felt good on the tongue and perhaps it would ease some of my inner-hostility.

As I struggled to slip the canteen back in it’s canvass holder another shadow winging overhead. It was larger than before and I looked up, shouting, “I ain’t dead yet, so leave me the…”

Stepping forward, I stumbled on a rock and fell.

Suddenly I couldn’t speak as I watched the most beautiful broad-shouldered man, with bright feathered wings, float to the ground a few feet from me. He was eight or nine feet tall and he had an aura about him, not a glow, but an aura — like one might see in a photograph of a person with flawless skin and a slight shine.

As he came down, I realized that not a pebble, not a grain of sand moved under the powerful breeze of his wings. I then noticed that all sound seemed to vanish as did the movement of the high clouds that danced among the mountain peaks in the distance, either side of us.

“Am I dead?” I thought.

“No” came his answer, though his mouth didn’t move.

“Do you remember me?” he asked somewhere inside my brain.

I shook my head hard, trying to dislodge the voice before I simply shook my head, ‘no.’

“You will and you’ll recall this meeting, too,” he smiled.

Again the voice came from inside my head. I sat down, my body feeling weak and unsteady.

“First,” he said, “Let me get the formal introduction out-of-the-way: ‘I am an Angel of the Lord, fear not! I bring you glad tidings from on high.”

My heartbeat suddenly pounded in my ears and I felt dizzy and I slid from the rock I’d been perched on, to the sand beneath. Towering above me, he sat down on a nearby rock and joked: “I know it’s a bit corny by today’s standards but we’re all required to say that to every human we come into official contact with.”

“Official?”

“Yup,” he answered, “Official. He knows you’ve been struggling the last couple of months and I’ve been sent to tell you that you’re going to be okay. Ask to be healed of this and you will be. Mined you, only this affliction of confusion – but nothing else.”

I sat there not knowing what to say or if I should say anything at all.

“Capeesh?” he finally asked after some silence.

“Jus’ the confusion,” I answered slowly, nodding my head.

“Good,” he continued to smile, “It’s time for you to ask, then to go home, your time out here,” he lifted both hands and motioned all around him, “is over. Do it in whatever order you want. Now pick up your bag and get up on that roadside or you’ll miss your ride.”

As I looked down to pick up my rucksack, I felt a gentle and cooling breeze float over me and when I lifted my head, he was gone. Then I realized that the harsh Nevada sun was beating down on me as I lay on my stomach, head turned to the right and a field of rocks and sand is all I could see.

Though still in shock, I quickly jumped to my feet and scrambled up the steep grade to the highway, where I stuck my thumb out for ride. The first vehicle that came by, slowed, stopped and before I knew it, I was en route home. As I sat in the back of the truck, I kept my eyes peeled for sight of the winged man, but never again saw him.

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