There was a loud rapping on my mud room door. I went and peeked out the little diamond window and saw big, old Jim Reacher in his Carhart coveralls, not looking in at me, but looking at his shoes as if he were thinking of what to do.
Jim’s foot was pawing at the dirt like an angry animal. “You shouldn’ta done that, writin’ about me in that column of yours,” he said. His foot stopped and he looked up and fixed me with his clear brown eyes. A fly landed on his stubbly face and he ignored it.
“It upset you that much, you’re not going to come in?”
“That’s right,” he said.
I decided that wouldn’t work so I reached out quickly and took his arm and dragged him through the door and marched him to the kitchen table.
“Sit,” I said, and put the tea water on. “Tell me what’s wrong.”
“Well, first of all, I didn’t say I was voting for Trump, I just said I was likin’ him. And everybody down at Rudy’s read what you said and they’re razzin’ me about being a trump fan.” I waited. There was more.
“And Martha didn’t like that bit about the gals all wanting a woman for president. She said she wouldn’t vote for Hillary if you tied her up and whooped her. Says she don’t trust her.”
The teapot whistled and Jim looked up. It was clearly my turn.
“My fault,” I said, measuring tea into the strainer. “Shoulda left the politics alone. But you know, religion, politics, the things you’re not supposed to talk about, those are the things that are the most interesting, everybody’s worldview and all that.
“So I’ll tell everyone you’re not voting for Trump in my next column if you’ll go down to the farmer’s market in Lewisburg with me. I need to get some more garden starts from Francis and talk to them pretty girls sellin’ that grass fed meat. I’ll buy you and Martha a loaf of Jeff’s bread, okay? Best bread on the planet. And did you know you can get goat and lamb meat there?”
Jim said okay, and that he wasn’t really all that mad, just trying to look like it, and I put lids on the teacups and we both went off to do our Saturday morning shopping.
-Larry Berger, Hashtag #78. June 2016.