What A Day That Will Be

Last night, the young man found himself in an old hardware store. There were a bunch of old timers, sitting around drinking coffee. Lots of laughing. The irreverent kind of laughs you hear from old men.

Now and then, customers would walk into the store and ask for this or that. An old guy in the group would lead them to the correct aisle, to help them find whatever they needed. The old guy looked familiar.

But the young man couldn’t put his finger on how he knew him. The cotton-white hair. Those horn-rimmed drugstore glasses. The waistband of his trousers, pulled clear up to his nipples.

He looked like the guy who used to sit on the front porch when the young man was a child, playing mandolin.

The young man’s grandfather used to play mandolin. As a boy, he could remember seeing his grandfather sing old-time music while stomping his right heel onto the porch floorboards, picking away on “Turkey in the Straw.”

The young man left the store. He was in the street now, walking. He was, evidently, in a little town.

Lampposts. Sidewalks. A barbershop pole. The whole deal. There were people everywhere. It was evening, the world was lit with a beautifully pink sun. He half expected to see Bernard P. Fife making his rounds.

A woman bumped into him. She was carrying groceries. She was young. Pretty. She looked like someone he once knew. Like Meredith Alison, from his grade school days.

As a girl, Meredith had misshapen lower legs. The doctor said her spine was as crooked as a congressman. By fourth-grade, she couldn’t walk and used a wheelchair. Eventually she didn’t need the chair because she died from health complications. The young man never forgot her.

“Do you remember me?” said the young woman.


She was smiling. “Yes, it’s me!”

“But, you can WALK!”

They were interrupted when the young man saw a pack of dogs trotting down Mainstreet. One of the animals looked startlingly familiar.

He knew this dog.

Once in his life, he had a bloodhound. Black and tan. She was the greatest dog he ever had. Make no mistake, he had a LOT of great dogs in his lifetime. But this one was the pick of the litter. Her name was Ellie Mae.

She was the dog who camped with him. Fished with him. Ate his Big Macs. Raised him. She was the only dog who had ever followed him around.

Then, one day, the veterinary doctor injected a reddish liquid into her circulatory system. They held her and stroked her head. They told Ellie it was all for the best; pancreatitis was killing her. Her eyes rolled backward into her skull. The young man didn’t eat for a month.

One of the dogs broke from the pack. She trotted to the young man. Black and tan. All bird dog.

The young man got down on the ground and held her close.

“Ellie!” he shouted.

And she still remembered her name.

Then he felt a heavy hand on his shoulder.

“We’ve been taking good care of Ellie until you got here,” said the familiar tenor voice.

The young man was taken aback. The voice belonged to a man. Tall and slender. Red hair. Fair skin. His clothes just hung on him. Big ears. A stick-welder. A guy with heavy hands, but a light heart. A troubled soul. A man so vexed, that he exited Earth on his own terms, and left the young man to deal with his mess.

Once, long ago. the young man had proclaimed to hate this particular man. When he was 16, the young man declared this to his friends, loudly, while under the influence of Anheuser-Busch products. The young man shouted to the whole world that the stick welder could go straight to… Well, you know.

And for decades, the young man has regretted that he ever uttered such inconsiderate words.

Because he was lying, you see. You never quit missing someone, even if you pretend to hate them. You think about them all the time. You wonder where they are.

You wonder whether they live in a land where there is no parting. Where no sad goodbyes are spoken. And you think about the day when you will meet them again. Oh, what a day that will be.

The young man threw his arms around the stick welder. Tears were shed. Dogs were present. And all was right in God’s heaven.

And then I woke up.


  1. Julie - July 7, 2023 12:16 pm

    And your old men shall dream dreams and your young men shall see visions…

  2. CherylW. - July 7, 2023 1:43 pm

    You are so blessed to have such wonderful dreams of your loved ones. I don’t know if I dream or not anymore. If I do I never remember them. Sure wish I did because I miss them all so much. By the way, I love your art and your writing.


Leave a Comment