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The Sage Seed

1 THE SAGE SEED Joe was an outdoorsman, and always had been. Nothing made him happier than spending a weekend fishing or hunting with his brother or sons. Waterfowl and upland game birds were a particular passion. His wife, Frankie, had gotten used to being a hunting widow. It was ok with her. At least the season was shorter than football, and didnt come into the living room. A year earlier, while shopping at K-Mart, Joe fell in love. It was a Mossberg 12-gauge auto-loader . . . and it was on sale. It was the perfect shotgun for his annual eastern Oregon bird hunt. He had wanted one like it for a long time, and they had a little extra cash. With just a bit of persuasion, Frankie agreed that it was a great deal, and would never be any cheaper. It can be my birthday Christmas present, Joe offered. Frankie just smiled. Joe deserved it; she knew he planned to pass his old double barrel to their oldest son for his birthdayand a new gun really was a good buy. He purchased the shotgun, and the men went on their trip. Upon his return, he declared that it was the best firearm hed ever used. The brace of sage hens and chukkar he brought home were proof of it. Fall gave way to winter, and January brought with it the worst storms in decades. Frigid arctic winds howled for days. Freezing rain created a world brittle as glass, snapping tree limbs and power lines alike. Western Oregon, unaccustomed to sub-zero temperatures, was paralyzed. On Joe and Frankies little farm, the fields were reduced to little more than straw stubble. The wind had scoured and burned the grass, and the ice had finished it off. The livestock had been confined to the barn, where they could be safe, and cared for. Joe studied the dwindling stack of bales in the corner. The hay was usually just a supplement, but the animals had been fed on it exclusively for nearly three weeks. He had not been prepared for this. Even if the weather changed tomorrow, there was no grazing left on the pasture. He would have to buy more hay, and this was definitely not in the family budget. He shook his head, knowing what he had to do. 2 Im going to sell the Mossberg, he told Frankie that evening. Ive barely fired it, only put about a dozen rounds through it. Its just like a new gun. Is that really necessary? She asked, I mean, there must be else we can do. Its not like we can charge a ton of hay to a credit card, Joe responded, always practical. Its okay, guns are a commodity. Buy in good times, sell in bad. Removing the shotgun from its padded canvas case, he wiped it down carefully, knowing it was already spotless. Returned to its manufacturers box, the 12 gauge really did look like new. A slip of yellow paper caught his eye. It was the original sales receipt. Do you think I could just return it? Joe mused. I wonder what K-Marts policy is on stuff like that. An hour later, he emerged from the store with a cash refund in his pocket, enough to buy hay for the rest of the winter. Apparently, the customer is always right at the Big Red K. Months went by and October bird season approached again. Nothing was said this year about a new shotgun. Cash was still in short supply. One day, Frankie was back at K-Mart, getting gym bags for the boys. While shopping in sporting goods, she found herself in front of the gun counter, staring at a sign with big red letters: CLEARANCE. She scanned the display case for a 12-gauge auto-loader. There it was, toward the end. Nearly half off, and significantly less than Joe had paid the previous year. Immediately, she resolved to buy it for her husband. It was still almost $200. Joe would notice if she spent that much money without accounting for it. She rang the bell for service. Can I put this on lay-away? she asked, indicating the Mossberg behind the glass. Christmas morning, Frankie was fairly twitching. They opened presents as they always did, youngest to oldest, with Joe being last. After the last bow was plucked off, and the last bit of colored paper hit the floor, Frankie reached behind the couch and pulled out one more wrapped package. I think Santa forgot to put this under the tree, she smiled, handing it to Joe. 3 A look of incredulous joy crossed the mans face as he tore the red and gold striped paper off the box. Wow, he grinned as he lifted the shotgun from its box and studied it, inside and out. Oh, honey, I cant believe it. How did you manage this? Lay-away! she laughed. Is it the right one? I wasnt sure of the model. Joes grin widened, as he reached back into the gun box. Still grinning, he dropped something into her palm. Not only is it the one, he told her, I think its the one. Frankie looked down at the object in her hand, and smiled. It was a tiny eastern Oregon sage seed. andsomethingrightsame

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Based on a true story. (889 words)


8/13/2009 7:38 PM
This was great!



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Votes: 6
Views: 3,284
Date: 7/4/09
Other: Writing