Monday, July 10, 2023

 Grandpa Herzig

          In my neck o’ the woods in Independence County, Arkansas, back in the day, there lived an old gentleman we called Grandpa Herzig. He was not really anyone’s grandpa; he was just an old man who lived in that part of the country for so long and knew so many people and so many people knew him that everyone just called him Grandpa Herzig, a title he bore with a pride as mighty as the Ozark hills. No one knew more about anything than Grandpa Herzig. He was a storyteller and freely offered advice on any subject, often without you even asking.


          Once, a lovesick young man came to him for advice. He explained he was madly in love with Molly Bee, who he believed would never give him a second glance. He wanted to ask her to the dance on Friday night. But he couldn’t think of the proper words to say and was almost certain she would reject him.

          Grandpa Herzig said, “First let me regale you with a yarn, my son,” he spoke, his voice tinged with a touch of antiquity, “a tale of misfortune befalling a man on a lonesome path as nightfall settled its dusky veil upon the land.”

         Old Grandpa Herzig, his face lined with wisdom and experience, began his tale. “Once upon a time, the protagonist of our narrative emerged—a certain Jeffrey Pierce, a man of refined disposition and scholarship, though his occupation proved to be a thorn in his side. A peddler of agricultural wares, he lacked the innate knowledge and toil of a true farmer. 

          As the week drew to a close, bearing little success, young Pierce set forth upon his journey homeward. Alas, fate’s cruel hand reached out to him, and at the very moment when the sun bid its farewell to the horizon, a punctured tire beset him. Weary and vexed, he steered his vehicle aside, and, with great exertion, unloaded the spare wheel and, extracted a lug wrench from the depths of his trunk. Yet, to his profound dismay, a vital instrument was absent—no jack to raise his carriage. As twilight deepened into darkness, a shroud of solitude enveloped him, with no respite in sight, no benevolent passerby to hail, for the road lay desolate and void of traffic.”

          He set forth upon his journey, traversing the winding road with resolute steps. Before long, a flickering glow caught his attention in the distance, resembling a radiant beacon stationed at least two leagues away. As he trudged wearily along the path, his ruminations centered on the inhabitants of that abode, for he pondered who among them might provide relief in his hour of need. Would they possess a jack, perchance? Yet, would their benevolence extend to aiding a stranger? And if assistance were granted, what remuneration would they exact? Perchance, the thought fluttered, the fee might be tolerable, but with naught but solitude surrounding him, the odds inclined toward an exorbitant demand beyond his modest means. 

          The farther he ventured, the more his thoughts dwelled upon the prospective cost. At length, he summoned the courage to rap upon the door, and as the farmer emerged, their gazes locked in a confrontation fraught with ire, he tersely declared, “I have no desire to employ your jack, sir!” Swiftly pivoting on his heel, he retraced his steps toward his carriage, leaving the perplexed farmer in his wake.  

          “What do you think of that yarn, my boy?”

          “…And now, what was the nature of your quandary?”


  1. Enjoyed the story. Though the question asked was not answered directly, the tale told addressed the matter. A person can let imagined "what ifs” when facing a difficult situation render them defeated causing them to abandon their goals. This story is almost like a parable.

    Linda Dye

    1. Thanks Linda, you're right, that's what I intended.

  2. The phrasing puts the reader right into those times. How do you know that? You're not old enough to have heard them as a normal way of speaking. I mean, I recognize them when I read them, but wouldn't be able to come up with them myself. Great writing!
    The transition from the Grandpa Herzig's narrative to him speaking was a little abrupt. Maybe that was your intent. I had to read it again to get it. Probably just me. Overall, it was a delightful story on how we let our fearful thoughts mess with our life.

  3. And then some people are not complex enough to follow that narrative and just want a straight answer. "Just ask her, Son." Lol