Courage at Twilight: Weekend Getaway

I knew I needed a break.  And a good place to take one was at Harvey’s house, four hours distant, in the small isolated town of Enterprise.  I consider Harvey the hero of my book Rabbit Lane: Memoir of a Country Road.  Actually, my seven children are the principal heroes and heroines.  But Harvey is the non-family member that joins them on the podium.  During his long and colorful life, Harvey was a tanner of hides, a seeker of nature’s healing ways, a modern mountain man living in remote hills and attending rendezvous, and a friend to American Indians, earning from them the name Many Feathers.  Harvey invited me one day to an Indian sweat ceremony, where I languished for three painful hours while also reveling in Indian song and story.  And at the end I smoked the peace pipe handed me by a Navajo Sun Chief, to offer my sacrificial prayer of smoke from burning sage.  Harvey is 84 now, and I wanted to see him.  So, I waved farewell to Mom and Dad and made the voyage.  Skinny and bent, Harvey puttered with me around his house and yard, feeding his prize pigeons and meat rabbits, frying up potatoes and sausages in his black iron skillet, and telling stories about the old days.  After a long day, I slept in the bunk house he built, warmed by the flame in the pot-belly stove.  Before I knew it, I was waving good-bye to Harvey and Mary and driving the long miles home to Mom and Dad, but feeling renewed from my time with my friend.

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