SHORT STORY FRIDAY: Near the Angel’s Rest

Angel's Rest Mountain, Pearisburg, Virginia

Angel’s Rest, Pearisburg, Virginia

“I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

Quaker Missionary Etienne de Grellet

Today is Short Story Friday. There’s a problem with that.

You see the problem with promising to post a new short story each Friday, particularly a story with a certain theme, is that you have to write it.

I have a goal. I have a dream of a collection of short stories. Details aren’t important. You’ll have them when I’m ready to share.

I also have a self-imposed deadline.

I think perhaps I haven’t read my posts of late about priorities.

So, today’s short story. Well, it’s a start. It’s not where I want it to be. It’s more a concept than a finished work.

Be kind. If you ever see this in print, it’s likely to look a lot different

Here for today is:

Near the Angel’s Rest

At the foot of the mountain there is a small town.

In the town there is a high school.

On a hot summer evening in June, one hundred and fifty high school seniors, dressed in blue and white…white for the women, blue for the men…are ready to cross the auditorium stage and hear their name called.

At least eight of us will hear the name Michael as we cross.

With a few final words of instruction, and a warning or two, we line up in the cafeteria.

It is time.

We hear the pianist play the first notes of the Grande March from Verdi’s Aida. It is likely that very few of us have ever even heard of Verdi.

There were no empty seats as we processed into the high school auditorium. Faculty and family hoping to find a spare seat stood across the back of the room.

This was the most important night.

Never mind that thousands had crossed this stage before us.

Never mind that, on that same night or one very soon, thousands would be crossing other stages.

Across the country.

(click the pic)

Around the world.

This was our time.

Many of us had been together for twelve years.

Almost all of us had been together when our middle schools merged us together into one eighth grade class five years prior.

We had grown up through the turbulent 60s and were shaped by the war in Vietnam and the resignation of a president.

Now, as our nation was preparing to celebrate 200 years of freedom, we were seeking our own freedom from the public school system.

In a matter of hours, we would scatter.

Some would go far. Some would never leave home.

Some would die too soon.

Accidents. Cancer. Violence. Drugs.

While we knew that we would never gather again as this class, no one spoke those words.

This was our night.

When the benediction was pronounced, and oh yes, there would be a benediction, we were in Southwest Virginia after all, we would scatter to parties across the county.
Most of us would make it home by the time the sun was rising.

The awards had been presented.

The choir had sung.

The names had been called.

We stood to sing one last time as a class.

Far above the broad horizon, near the Angel’s Rest…

A lifetime ago.

And yesterday.

At the foot of the mountain there is a small town.

In the town there is a high school.






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The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

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