The Road My Father Walked
His name was L.G. Luckett. Saying it was a song in terms of linguistics. The “L” in part, causes the tongue to touch the roof of the mouth. The sound that escapes from the lips is something like freedom. The “G” vibrates the hyoid bone, It echos a certain amount of base and stability. Now, the last name is sharp and witty like his laughter, and short like his temper should any fool dare to ignite it. Yep.
“Mr. L.G. Luckett.” It was a good name.
He’d take us for walks on long summer nights. There were no street lights to dim the stars, no random gunshots to fear, just Daddy, three German Shepherds, and four girls. See, we lived way off in the middle of the woods where no one in the world ventured to go except him.
He’d point out the constellations to us; from the Big & Little Dipper to Orion & Cygnus. I wouldn’t be able to find any of them now for a lot of different reasons. Mainly because I haven’t been able to see the stars in twenty or more years. The world is too cluttered now. And, also because I am getting old you know. My eyesight gets worse every year. My ears are still good though.
Daddy would sometimes stop us in the middle of the road, and tell us to stay put. He’d walk away, leaving us with only the light of the moon as a guide. After some time, we’d hear him bellow “Now, adjust your eyes to the dark, and follow the sound of my voice.” And, we did. We struggled some but always managed to find him. We didn’t know it then, but it was practice, practice for life. It’s how we found God on our own, looking for him in the dark, following the sound of his voice.
Despite being in total darkness, we weren’t scared. Daddy knew the land like the back of his hand and could spot a snake in the dark. Not only could he spot the snake, but we’d seen him shoot one’s head clean off in the heat of the night. Daddy was an excellent marksmen. Most times, he wore a holster with a pistol on both sides, just above his waist. At the back of the holster was a place for a knife. It had a six-inch blade and a brown handle. My imagination led me to believe it had been given to him by an Indian chief who lived somewhere in the forest we called home.
It feels good to say it, even now. Home. We were subconsciously taught to defend it at all cost. In fun and games, we’d stomp behind him singing war songs.
“Got a letter in the mail.
Go to war or go to jail.
And it won’t be long.
Till I get on back home.”
We repeated it in unison, the four of us, marching behind him like soldiers in the army of the Lord. It would be the battle cry we’d use for the rest of our lives.
Daddy walked that same road, traveling the sixty-five acres of land that had been passed down from generation to generation. He was the only living Luckett left, besides us. Now, it’s our turn. Over the years, we were forced to move closer to civilization. But, we tried to teach our children the same song in a different form. We aren’t excellent marksmen, but we fight back when pushed up against a wall, which we most often are.
That old road is still visible though overgrown. During this global crisis, it’s the only place we can go. There’s a lot of work to do, and more than anything we need a dog or two; and, maybe, a few hard-working men. But, we make do with what we have.
Our children roam free. Their spirits flying towards the sky. We hold our heads up high, our ears open wide, each of us with two pistols, one on each side.