I still can recall the story, now old,
as clearly as just yesterday.
For context however,
and it to be told,
I must go back into time –
What year this all was, I can’t say.
I was merely sixteen, still young, a teen,
inclined rather deep in a young man’s own way
to a bad case of sheer naiveté—
As much, alas! as I still am today,
but this story will still have its say.
In the Land of Enchantment,
once upon a time,
at a trading post,
somewhere near Santa Fe,
my uncle and I stopped for some gas
and pick up provender one day.
There on the stoop sat an old man;
my uncle, he claimed to have known him.
“That old Indian,’ my uncle began,
“can remember each meal that he ate.”
“His memory is really that great.”
I laughed and I balked,
but eventually walked
to the old man, who sat in a chair.
I was young and naïve,
but took up the dare,
and asked the old man sitting there
what had he ate
for breakfast of late.
“What on the Fourth of July?”
not missing the beat.
And I laughed at my own disbelief.
The butt of a joke,
a fool to comply,
I felt like the fool made of me.
Twas three years on later,
then in the army,
I was catching a bus in Santa Fe.
The same old man!
So I decided to give him a “Hey.”
I raised up my hand,
and I gave him a “How!’’
And he turned without blinking and said:
Boy! was I ever then and there wowed!
But always I was, and still am as now,
befuddled, bewildered, and cowed.
©2011, Marvin Welborn.
Revised 3 July 2014.
Original Publication: Union Station and Paradigm Shift; Xlibris, March 2012.