• Charles R. Butts Jr.

For Only A Season - Goodnight Uncle Clem (Chapter 19)

Uncle Clem reached into the top drawer of his nightstand and pulled out a cigar. He asked me if I would light it for him. I did so and handed it to him, along with an ashtray. He smiled as he puffed and tapped away the ashes. " There's nothing like a good cigar." Carefully setting the lit cigar in the ashtray, he reached into the pocket of his robe and removed his pocket watch, a money clip full of bills, and keys to his two cedar chests at the foot of his bed and the two safes in his closet. One was located on the top shelf behind a couple of jars of coins, and the other one on the left side of the floor, behind some shoeboxes. A .38 revolver was lying on top of that one. He sipped from his jar again while puffing on the cigar. " I want you to hold onto these things for me, okay?"

" Sure thing."

Uncle Clem pointed to the bottom drawer of his nightstand. " Would you mind reaching in there and passing me those photo albums?"

" Sure thing." I grabbed the albums and handed them to him.

" Thanks."

" You're welcome."

By now, Coltrane's CD had finished, and Bird's sax was blaring through the speakers. Uncle Clem opened the first album, looked me squarely in the eye, and closed it.

" What's wrong, Unc?"

" Nothing. I know you're probably ready to turn in now, but I need to say one more thing to you, if you don't mind."

" Of course, anything. What is it?"

He carefully put his cigar in the ashtray and took another drink. " You brought a very special gift with you when you were birthed into this world. Being born with a veil is a mighty powerful blessing. Always see it as such. Always trust it, and never be afraid of whatever it reveals to you. I'm guessing, by the time your first grandchild is born, you'll clearly know and understand everything your gift is capable of. It grants its possessor unlimited power, but with great power comes great responsibility."

" I

got it. I understand to whom much is given, much is required." I walked over to him, took his hand in mine, gripped it firmly, and kissed his forehead. " Good night. Rest well. I'll see you in the morning."

Making my way toward the door, I turned and asked, " Can I get you anything before I leave?"

He put out his cigar and drank the last corner of whiskey from his jar. " No thanks. Everything I need is here with me now. Now go on downstairs to that beautiful woman of yours and get some rest."......

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