Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Today’s Word: Handsel

Summers bring the low-country boys. Ever has it been since I can remember; even to the knowledge of my ole'pa.

They come in guerilla brigades, bearing rifles and long-blades. They want our backs, our hands, our women.

Defiance is legend. There is the tale of the Summer of Bone: a dry summer of fire and blood, real memory only to my ole'pa's ole'pa. Seven hundred of our boys marched out on Pyler's field armed with axes, hoes, and shovels. The lowboys cut them down like deadwood, dropping row upon row before our farmers could even get close to their solid lines.

But this summer will be different. For eight years we've worked the smiths, while every summer the low-boys came, robbed and left. Now we have rifles of our own: lean, cruel sticks of wood and metal. We've drilled ourselves into an outfit, marking well the way low-boy units work.

We'll pay them the first blood for blood in a new pact: a summer's oath of retribution. But we won't stop there – we're going south, to the flat lands. This first stab is merely a handsel. The real payment we'll mete come winter.

No comments: