A Change of Major Epilogue
A few months later..
The small convoy of vehicles lined up in front of the now, nearly empty campground. Ernie and Chuck stood next to the lead vehicle, a modified pickup truck loaded down with gas cans and supplies, when Brenda and I walked up.
"It feels warmer, at least some, doesn't it?" I asked.
"Must be in the fifties or so," said Ernie.
I faced Chuck,
"Well, I guess this is it, huh, Chuck?"
"I guess so, Mike."
"The Hartmans to Nebraska, Minnesota for you and then Ernie to Pennsylvania? Think you'll make it?" I asked.
"Why not?" said Ernie. "We can't sit here in a campground all year can we? Besides, I feel like an adventure."
I reached out and shook Chuck's hand and we gave each other a guy hug. I then reached in my pocket and pulled out Curtis' iPhone and handed it to him.
"I think Curtis would have wanted you to have this. It's probably the only working one in all of America if you think about it." I said.
Chuck looked at it and said "Thanks, Mike. I see you around, okay?".
He then went and got into the passenger seat while Ernie took the wheel.
"Mike," said Ernie out the window. "You take care of yourself and this pretty young lady. Don't make this old man come back to Texas and and teach you some manners, you hear?"
"I gotcha and you don't have to worry about that, Ernst." I added giving him one final hard time, "Good bye".
"Wrong, Mike. Until we meet again. Take care." Ernie corrected me.
And the truck pulled out with the others following behind.
A long time ago, I thought I wanted to go to college, so I did. I changed my major and thought I knew where I was going and what I was doing, but life got in the way.
Now, I am still learning, but my major changes all the time. One day it's birthing pigs, the next picking corn and another how to fix a silted well. And along the way, I have loved, been loved, lost friends and made new ones.
I get a report card each day which tells me if I am alive or not and so far, I'm doing okay. Besides, Brenda's a great study partner although we take a lot of breaks.
Every now and then I go back to the campground, clear off Curtis' grave and see how he's doing. Hap says he saw a deer near it once and I like to think that makes Curtis happy somewhere.
I once thought that someday we would set up a monument to people like Curtis for what they did in the early days after The Day, but the fact is, eventually we will all return to the dirt like Curtis, so why make a fuss? Curtis wouldn't have. He loved life and celebrated it each day. Why should we celebrate death?
I miss my friends and my family and I wonder if I will ever see any of them again. For now, I can't worry about it as life will take care of itself. A hundred years from now, we will be gone and probably forgotten, and the time we have now is all we have. So, I have to make it count.
Tomorrow starts early and I have more work to do and Celina says its time I made an honest woman out her daughter. I told her my hands were full with Brenda and Tracy was her problem. She threw a dirt clod at me.
Like Ernie says, it's not goodbye, but until we meet again.
At the end of a forgotten rural road, a young couple and their four year old daughter weeded and carefully worked their large garden. Between this, chickens, rabbits, an occasional deer and avoiding trouble, they eeked out a decent life.
A young man, riding a worn out bicycle, stopped in front of their home and waved his hand. The man looked cautiously at the visitor and then approached him.
"Looks like you have plenty of work to do here and not enough hands," the young man said.
"And let me guess, you want to help. What are you looking for?" the farmer asks.
"Honest work and nothing more."
"I can't offer you much and when winter comes, there may be nothing," said the man.
"A place to bed down and a couple of meals are enough for me. So do we have a deal?" said the young man.
"OK, we will give it a try. What's your name?"
"Bil.. William Hough, but call me Will." said the young man putting out his hand to shake.
"Alright, Will. Come on over, I got some firewood that needs cutting..."