"Purpose and Goals"
(Continued from 'Voices')
"Sit right down, son. Make yourself comfy. We don't often see you young'ens 'round abouts."
"That be so, Wilbur. Somethin' must be troublin' you powerful for you to come see us Old Folks."
"That ain't necessar'ly so. Maybe the boy's just wantin' some sound ad-vice, an' he come to me fer it. Dave, git off that there barrel an' let the boy sit."
"I'd rather stand, if you don't mind. I've been doing a lot of sitting at the library."
"Suit y'erself. They's your legs."
"What library you been to, son. I didn't know there was one here a'bouts. Not a real one, leastwise."
"What are you talking, Tom? We got one right here in the store."
"A few old magazines and a newspaper don't make for a library."
"I went to Ballentree and was reading there."
"Must a been tolerable desp'irate to go there, snooty, nose stuck in the air folks they is."
"So, what's on your mind, Wilbur? Anything we can help you with? Or did you just come in to share the stove and lend a fresh opinion to our discussions."
"I guess a little of both, Mr. Andy. I was talking to Clem, and he suggested...."
"Clem? You mean that nonsensical Abernathy kid? What sort'a advice could he give? Hopes you didn't pay no mind to whatever he tol' you."
"Dumb as a stick. Always said he was."
"Well, Clem suggested I come to you folks to see what you had to say."
"Intellygent boy, that Clem."
"Sharp as a tack, he. Always said he was."
"And what were you and Clem talking about?"
"Well, I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, mostly about my life and all. I mean, not that it's a bad life or anything, just kind of boring and all, I guess. You know how it is? So I thought I would talk to you fellas and see if you had any suggestions."
"Well, young fella, you came to the right place, by golly."
"No doubts about it. Amongst us we knows it all. Near abouts anyways."
"For shure. They's hund'erts a' years of experiences right here at this ol' pot-bellied stove. Nothin' worth learnin' you can't fetch right here."
"Yep. Smartest of the smarts, by gum."
"You jus' tell us plain an' simple what it is you wants to learn, and we'll learn ya'."
"Let 'r rip, son, we's all ears."
"That makes me feel better. I was afraid I would be bothering you all. I didn't want to do that."
"No bother, son. Let 'r fly."
"I guess if I got down to just the essentials of the problem, what I am wondering is....Why are we here? I mean, why was I born and what am I supposed to do with my life?"
".................You see, it's like, ah!"
"...Yes, and not only that, but, ah."
"No idea, son."
"You're on your own with this one, I'm afear'd."
"I figured as much. I guess everyone here just kind of lives until they die, then whatever happens, happens."
"That's the way of it, I'm suppos'n."
"But Clem said you might know, Mr. Andy. He said that you kind of felt the same a long time ago. That you went to the mainland and all. Went to college there and all. That maybe you might could help me."
"If anyone can, it's Andy. The rest of us have been content to live right here in Tumbleweed. That is other than Bill and Reggie and a couple of other newcomers to the island. But I doubt they could understand what you're experiencing."
"Mike's right. They're city-folks and couldn't understand an Islander's point of view. What Clem said is true, I did get a wild hair and move to the mainland. Spent many years in Seattle. Studied meteorology and theology in particular.
"......Brings back many memories. Not fond ones, I'm afraid. Lost my wife and kids over it. All except Tippy here, my Samoyed....."
"It's ok, Andy, we understand."
"But enough of that. Like I said, I know what you are experiencing. The frustration of doing the same thing every day, seeing the same things every day. It's hard when your young to look over that channel and think that life and happiness is over there, and you're stuck here."
"That's it, Mr. Andy. That's just what I feel."
"It's all a lie, Wilbur, all a big, terrible lie. There's nothing over there but sorrow and misery. You might as well be wondering if Hell might be a better place, just because it would be different."
"I've wondered about that too."
"In a few years you'll outgrow the notion, and start being content right here. The teen-age years are froth with such wonderings. My advise would be to just let it alone. Like I said, it will pass."
"You're probably right, Mr. Andy, but I can't do that. I've got this itch, and it's just got to be scratched. You know how it is, don't you?"
"Yes, Wilbur, all too well.
"Ok, I'll tell you what, if you will just sit on it for a week or two, I'll give it some thought and see what I can do. I have an idea that might just put your frustrations to rest. Can you do that? Can you be at peace for a while?"
"You bet, Mr. Andy. You bet!"
"When I get things worked out, I'll let you know. Til then, you go on about your business, Ok?"
"You bet, Mr. Andy, you bet."
"You go on, then, Wilbur, I'll see you later."
"You bet, Mr. Andy, and Thanks. Bye!"
"What have you got brewing in that cunning mind of yours, Andy? I've got the feeling that you're up to something devious."
"Maybe so, Mike. I'm thinking that if the boy gets a taste of what he thinks he wants, he'll spit it out right quick."
"Possible, but what if he swallows it?"
"That's another problem, Mike."
(To be continued)