Jones of Old Lincoln (Chapter 1, page 2 of 11)


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Chapter 1

There was only one older man who was a throwback to my childhood. He wore the old gallus overalls, a denim jumper, and a hat, not a cap. These twenty or so customers were about the tribal warrior rituals of ancient times: waiting for the sun, some preening, and some silently claiming their places, listening, but exercising their personhood within the group by their place along the bar.

No matter that the day's activities awaiting them in the twenty-first century were quite ordinary and unheroic, a millennium removed from the genetic patterns imprinted on their souls. They were ready for the captain's call and the unfurling of the banner. That ancient spirit is deep within the cultural wrap of time and accepted behavior...it but awaits the need, the summons, the raising of the banner to be called forth.

***

The intruder on my focused study looked as if he'd walked out of a Matthew Brady wet-plate photograph of 1860. He was a vision in black broadcloth-a long frock coat, with matching waistcoat and trousers. He wore a white, high, soft-collar shirt with a black nineteenth century style cravat. A gold watch chain hung low across his waistcoat. In his left hand he held an extra long, silver-capped, black cane. In his right hand he held a well-worn, battered, Abe Lincoln-style stovepipe hat. I surely was out of place-a prodigal proving Wolfe's dictum about the futility of trying to go home after the seductions of the fickle world-but the intruder was out of time, a specter bearing witness to my homesick soul of the varied dimensions of reality and place.

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