Perhaps it was old Dutch Henry who started it all, but nobody really knows. Dutch was that kind of a guy who worked his mind to a fare-the-well, came out of his house one day with his hammer and started to build a porch on two sides of his house.
When it was done, he sat out there the first night with no more television or radio at a bother, and him just talking to those two stars right up over your head, those two little ones you can barely see at this moment of my pointing. It was kind of a home-away-from-home for him, for that little while. Then he brought his hammer up in here, the one that “did” the porch, to this place in the deep woods and locked in by sheer rock walls, and hung his hammer up there on a chunk of scaly rock where all those other tools are hanging now, all those hundreds of ‘em all tied up with wire and hanging in their own solitude and celebration and for doing what they had done, those wrenches, hammers, pliers, shovels, pry bars, picks, axes, automatic drills, tools galore from the hands of men who adorned this place at the spark of inspiration.
You see, I don’t know if it was Dutch or not, but it’s here, in this small place for sweet gathering where we rest and talk and look at men’s labors through the sight of their tools left for our thinking, and a great and grand story attached to every one of these implements, like a kind of rewards’ hall in the rocks and woods about us, each one up to their very own thing and what they had done.
I think I was allowed to come here, when a pal, himself disappointed or discouraged or upset by a cause or curse, came to spend some time and I plain followed him, having known about Dutch Henry from my grandfather I’d guess, for starters, and how Dutch did his porch when he heard the call, came here when called on. Then went when called-up, up there where he’s sitting between those two stars on his own damned little bench. Yep, them two little stars right up there. where I’m pointing, and maybe Dutch wanting to comeback for a day or two to sit with us, but more likely not, ‘cause he’s so damned happy with talking to them stars of his, yes siree, for sure.
You see, Dutch knew the whole route, the whole damned route every inch of the way and the why’s and why not’s that go with them stars of his, the whole way he went after hanging up his hammer, the one that’s up so high you might not be able to reach, him the big man he was, and big enough for two stars. Never mind just one of ‘em, him talking his head off and maybe them stars don’t even hear a single word from him, which don’t matter in the first place.
I couldn’t help myself one time when I bought a case of beer, cold beer, and a big box of crackers full of little packages of dry as only crackers can be when there’s nothing to slab on them, but reach an appointed place when needed or fit the fill, usually with a cold beer to set a need for chewing a bit with at least one cold beer and there’s nothing else around.
And I lugged them with me right to the edge of the entrance one weekend day and heard the boys talking about someone’s wrench or drill like the user of that tool was a god in his own right and certainly deserved the right to be talked about no matter where you’re standing as long as it’s in this place of rocks and hung-up tools, like it’s a museum of our own making, or perhaps of Dutch’s making way back in the first place when he got away from the television and the radio and got to sit alone on his own porch to them two stars hanging on to him now, all these years later and all that way up there and who knows who’s keeping company with him now.
Anyway, I could peek around the corner of one rocky edge and see the boys sprawled out on chairs or couches they lugged up here and were sitting at deep ease and I was able to hear them talking and it was about Dutch again, the way he keeps popping up and grabbing attention and a damned good chunk of their conversation and we all know why he deserves it, for that’s what all this makes out to be, just a museum that he might have started and we keep going on, and every time one of us comes up here there’s another tool hung by wire on a rocky edge, and one day it’s going to be Dutch’s son who hangs up his own tool and we’ll all wonder if he’s got something going on with those two little stars and all on his own or else set up for him by a higher hand.
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2 thoughts on “Sometime a Real Dream Has to Have a Place of its Own or It’s Gone Forever by Tom Sheehan”
The final paragraph is a single sentence more than a hundred words long. Few writers can attempt such a thing and make it work. Sheehan is a writer who can.
Leila has pointed out something from all of your works and that is your amazing ability to write such long lyrical and descriptive sentences. You have some amount of skill to balance so many words into ideas that keep the reader interested.
You are a tremendous writer with a little bit of a heart of a poet.