My Old Friend

You genius of the savage nature, I marvel at your skill. You swim in a fountain of ageless knowledge, an active member on both sides of paternal transmission. The quality of your character like rough-hewn furniture, unrefined to the eye; yet inspection proves the rusticity to be that of perfect intent. There comes forth from you no flurry of religious zeal, but you are among the kindest men I have ever met. So often we differ in opinion of things, it is with reluctance that I admit it is through these very differences that I have fostered such respect for you. As much as I wish to shake you, to carry you, to make you truly see; I am continually astounded at your patient ear. What’s more is as often as I wish to tear my hair and proclaim you a fool; I know it is not the truth. I know this small level of malignant feeling finds my-self as its source; because as much as I wish to shake you, to carry you, to truly make you see, I am also forced to wonder how a man such as me (practically a child by comparison) could have the audacity to assume that I have known enough or seen enough to instruct you on anything at all. Still we differ, still I remain the patient interlocutor, and still we are the same.

We were so much more the same in the Army, those many years past. How completely my world has been re-cast in the Rio-Grande Valley. I am so different now, if not for these memories and human connections to provide testament I would scarcely believe myself the same person. And how the equatorial sun has blinded you to that greatest of your traits, indeed your very compassion bears a southern blind-spot. You would say I over-sympathize, that I would let a leech feed on me for pity’s sake; that in wanton disregard I would leap for an insubstantial utopia only to feel it dissipate below me as natural laws force me earthward. You would never say it this way, but you would say it all the same. And I would lament in my immature mind, how unknowingly your perceptions have been shaped by the greedy, snide and thoughtless; whose opinions are cast with ferocity from their soapbox-parapet. It nearly stings, these opinions are so out of place, so unlike you. You have been misinformed and because of it you misplace blame to those without realistic control. You would put the leech on someone else to keep it from returning to you, but never knowingly. No, never knowingly: you wouldn’t consider such action for even a moment, for you are among the kindest men I have ever met.

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