Finale

Chapter 46

       It had rained recently. When the sheriff’s cruiser pulled around to

the back door at Irma Willard’s, the trees still dripped a bit, and the dust

did not rise when the vehicle stopped.

       The car was clean. Not just the rain neither. We’re talkin’ washed.

No longer dirt gray, turns out the two colors were a rich deep blue and

and a simple cream white. Nice.

       The official looking emblem thing was now visible. Turns out it

wasn’t a state emblem, but an Ardensville emblem. Had a settler and an

Indian and a buffalo and corn. Nice.

      Who knew?

      Morrow turned off the engine. He removed his trooper shades and

parked them on the dash. He studied his reflection two times in the

cheaters that now looked back upon himself.

      The six shooters were not there. The medals and cross were gone.

The collar remained but only that.

         Morrow looked at the faces in the sunglasses.

       “Pardon Sir, but we have not been introduced.”

        He bowed his head and prayed for guidance. He begged his

transgressions forgiven, his pride erased, and refuge in a righteous life.

Then he wept.

        Once composed again, he reached to his right for a small cluster of

wild flowers tied together with a corn leaf and left the car.

        With one foot on the first step, he turned to look into the direction

the breeze was coming from. Alfalfa. The horizon never seemed so far

away as it did on that particular day.

         He climbed, approached the screen door, and reached for the

doorbell. He prayed some more before ringing. Stepping back off the

porch now, he waited and listened. That is all.

        Footsteps could be heard descending the steps. With eyes closed,

Morrow counted each step. When the descent was concluded, Morrow

swallowed.

       Looking up at the screen door now, he studied the obscured outline

yet standing back from the door.

      After a silence, “May I come in?”

      After a silence, Harold popped the hook from its eye, and the

screen door creaked open on its own.

  "Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate — we cannot consecrate — we cannot hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."