Haibun – Setting a Hook

In Colorado the license plates used to say “God’s Country”, back when that sort of thing didn’t raise eyebrows. Not because anybody was particularly religious, but because the mountains were so beautiful most days it almost hurt just to look outside. To be honest though, now when I get off the plane at DIA for maybe another funeral, I don’t feel a thing for the place. I could be anywhere. No rush of “Home!” in the chest.

After the most recent said funeral, my cousin and I decided for old time’s sake to go fly fishing. We went to the local sporting goods store to top up our gear, and I realized I’d need a fishing license. The kid behind the counter asked if that was for “Resident” or “Non-Resident”. Without thinking, I said “Resident”. He asked for my driver’s license.

I paused for a long moment. Then I replied carefully that a driver’s license wasn’t going to be necessary. I was born and raised here, that should cover it. The kid didn’t seem to catch on, and pressed me again. I am not a small man at 6’4″, and my cousin goes by “Stork”, at 6’6″. To my surprise as much as the clerk’s, I leaned over him and asked how long he’d been living in the state. 2-3 years, like most of the other ski bum, rock climbing, hippie arrivistes I’d dealt with growing up. Then in a slow drawl, my eyes locked on his, “Son, my family came here in covered wagons. Five generations are buried in the shadow of this mountain. I said, give me a resident license.”

Stork grabbed my arm. “Randy! Cut the shit! You don’t live here anymore. Give him the money.” I wouldn’t break my gaze with the clerk, and I said I wanted a resident license. Stork threw some money on the counter, got the license, put it in his pocket, and pulled me out of the store, still staring at the clerk.

Such are matters of blood and dust.

Grandfather trout waits
Mayflies hatch within the hour –
Time for catch and kill



Late Entry for dVerse’s  Hometown Haibun

Haibun – Christmas, 1980

After college, I spent a few years traveling around Europe, picking up work here and there. In one such adventure, I worked in a shelter for homeless East End London youths. This was back when Docklands still had bombed out buildings from the Blitz and Cockney was what you heard in the streets.

I volunteered for the Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day shifts. It would just be me and about a dozen teenagers who were runaways or who had been tossed out by their parents. They had been living under bridges or worse, and the shelter gave them a place to stay until we could “get them sorted.”

Breakfast and dinner both were beans and toast. Every day, day after day. There was one smallish gas oven/stove, and one pan to heat the beans. You can guess where this is going… Correct!  With no cooking experience whatsoever, I went out and bought a huge turkey and all the fixings so I could make the kids a proper Christmas dinner.

My ability to grossly underestimate a situation is a hallmark of my life, and one of the things my friends and family say makes me so endearing.

Dinner a bit late
Turkey rolling on the floor –
Hilarious stuff



For Frank’s Haikai Challenge