Okay, that wasn’t so bad. The road is still in good shape. I am glad to be at the top of the hill though. The shadows begin to grow more than makes me comfortable while travelling. I suppose that’s Margaret’s concern rubbing off on me. Bless her, she does what she can.
L & L pub consistently surprises me. There it sits on top of this hill. It just appears as I crest the hill. As soon as I start thinking that I have passed the last of civilization, here is L & L. The little wooden building just materializes in its perch. Ralph takes good care of the building. The white wash catches either rising or, in this case, the setting sun brilliantly. I even asked one time if Ralph changed the color outside. He assured me he had not. He says the sun catches the building just right on occasion. The sun certainly has this evening. If it weren’t for the cold, I might have this meeting with Alfred outside. However, I don’t think freezing is a worthwhile plan.
Ralph recently took care of the yard too. I hope he didn’t do that this morning. Cutting after yesterday’s rains would be a big chore for anyone even Ralph. Still, the grass looks as good as Margaret does with mine.
I press open the wood door, and Rebecca runs to me and gives me a hug. “Welcome, Edward. It’s so nice to see you this evening. Are you stopping here for the night, or is someone joining you?”
I take a step back from her. “Both actually. I plan on being here for most of the night, and I am meeting my old friend, Alfred. How are you and your husband doing?”
Rebecca glances over her shoulder. “We are great. Look around. We have an almost full house, and Ralph is flinging drinks and food like no one will be here tomorrow.”
Sure enough, Rebecca is correct. Ralph doesn’t even look up to see me come in. And, all but one of the tables have a person at them. There are even a few at the bar. These look mostly like farmers visiting after working in their fields. They are covered in mud for the most part. They certainly had their work cut out for them today. I suppose the fields wanted tilling after such rains. I can only imagine the weeds that would grow. On the other hand, perhaps tilling is easier with a bit of water soaked ground than sun baked dirt. I wouldn’t know.
Rebecca draws me back from my wanderings. “So, I haven’t seen Alfred in a while. I guess the last time you met him?”
I squint my eyes and look around. “Yeah, I know the last time I saw him was here. I hoped he would’ve visited y’all since then though. He told me about taking a position to help his niece and nephew with their farms the last time. I guess that takes more time than he thought. Truly, that is a shame. He helped Papa Burbanks for many years. I was kind of hoping that Alfred would be as able to step back from things as Papa did. Doesn’t look like that is the case.” Rebecca and I walk toward the bar as we talk.
“Well, look what the wind blew in. How did the trip east go?” Ralph finally looked up when I put some money on the bar.
I shrug. “It went well. Thank you for asking. I visited a group of farmers there, and they had some interesting ways of dealing with the land around them. They fascinated me by how they appeared to cooperate with the land. Plus, they had a very good beer, so I enjoyed my visit. How are things here?”
Ralph laughs like I have just asked the most unexpected question. “I have a full house. I am doing great. So, what are you having?”
I nod with a grin. “Yes, you certainly have some folks here. I will take some of your homemade whiskey and my usual burger. I’m going to go to your remaining table over there in the corner.”
Rebecca slaps my back. “Ha, the universe must have known you were coming. Everyone here at the bar made a move in that direction before settling here at the bar.” Everyone in the row raises an eyebrow in her direction. She continues, “I’ll bring it right over when Ralph finishes with it.”
Ralph nods and spins back to the grill. “Shouldn’t take me long, buddy.”
So, I pace over to the table and sit in the chair against the back wall. I take my pack off my back and open the pouch on the top. Fantastic, Margaret remembered to pack my pipe and tobacco as well. I reckon then I will just sit here and enjoy a bowl before my food and Alfred gets here.