She landed on time but there was a long line at the rental car desk threatening to make her late for the celebration of life. She could take a taxi, then arrange for a car to be delivered to her room, but decided to hang tough for a few, and see if things sped up. She’d been to Portland several times and knew how expensive it would be to take a cab to Beaver Creek. Fortunately, her gamble paid off and she was able to drive through the lovely countryside and get to the Grange Hall just in time for the service.
She didn’t know the man but read everything he published. She loved the flow of his words as he described settings, characters, and revealed the plot. If he wrote poetry, it sang. Mysteries were difficult enigmas to solve before the end. His novel was racy but she’d laid in bed, enthralled by steamy interactions of the lovers. She wasn’t invited but figured no one would mind if she said goodbye to her favorite author in person. As she climbed the wooden stairs to the auditorium she was smiled at and handed a pamphlet instead of being turned away. Grateful for that, she took a seat in the back so she could watch everything that occurred. She knew the man was irreligious, so there wouldn’t be a bunch of preaching and praying but a true celebration of his time on the planet.
The service was charming as people spoke enthusiastically about their interactions with him. Their voices expressed admiration and love and regret he would no longer walk among them. As they spoke about him, she remembered something he said when interviewed on Good Morning America. Asked about his anti-war stance he said, “ The greatest hurdle humanity faces is overcoming the desire to kill its own species and blind obedience is required for war to continue. I’ve always questioned authority and wasn’t willing to be a pawn in someone else’s chess match. The blood and the pain are real not moves on a game board.” That was the impetus for her traveling to this ceremony. To pay respect to someone who steadfastly stood by their convictions.
When the recollections were over, a band played some of his favorite songs. She was surprised to learn he preferred modern rock instead of oldies. She supposed that staying on the cutting edge of social evolution was a desirable trait for an author. Soon, it was time for refreshments so she grabbed her cane and hobbled to the buffet table to indulge in the sumptuous offerings. She found she was quite hungry from her journey and loaded a plate unabashedly. She was having trouble holding her plate and leaning on her cane until a man’s hand appeared in her peripheral vision and a warm voice asked if they could help. As she said yes, she looked into a face that almost made her drop her plate. The man looked exactly like the dead writer. As she struggled to find words, the man said, “I can see you didn’t know he had a twin brother. When I saw you enter, I knew we’d never met and concluded you were a fan. Would you like to join our table?”
When her shock receded and she was seated, she asked “are you a writer as well?’ The man, who’d introduced himself as Richard laughed as he replied. “No, he was one of a kind. I paint a little, do some sculpting, but I’ll never make the big leagues. Mostly I take care of the family ranch. We have a few cattle, grow vegetables, that kinda stuff. ”
As they ate and chatted, she found herself extremely attracted to Richard. They were about the same age and he wasn’t wearing a wedding ring. She usually wasn’t impetuous and chastised herself internally for the feelings roiling inside her. She attributed them to her admiration for his brother but noticed his body language was declaring his desire to have her linger. When he asked if she wanted to stay at the ranch instead of driving back to her hotel it was easy to say yes.