My maternal grandpa was a well-meaning but mediocre photographer, skilled at bringing the shutter down a moment too early or late, or in taking pictures of things that were not as quirky or offbeat (or well-lit) as he thought.
I’m going to dredge some of his efforts out of the family scrapbooks where they sit unappreciated, and bring them out for contemplation.
Another installment, then.
* * * *
To understand our little town, sir, you have to understand The Blessing.
Every other town on this peninsula is barren, clear to the mainland. But here, the sunflowers grow tall as trees. And the corn so abounds, it is all we can do to pick it and cart it away.
We call this The Blessing. And our farmer’s paradise is indeed a blessing, sir. It is all in the hands of higher powers, and little thanks to our mortal efforts.
There is one thing we do to show our thanks for The Blessing, every third year, and we dare not fail. We do it a week or two before the autumn equinox, not long before the harvest moon.
It involves a full-grown man, and a granite boulder, and the long butcher’s knife from the slaughterhouse.
Why humans? Well, sir, these are gods we’re talking about, and mighty powers demand mighty sacrifices.
Chickens, pigs, lambs — these are things humans slaughter for our own needs. These are not worthy of the higher powers.
In my grandpa’s day they drew straws. Then we realized there were so few of us in town, we couldn’t afford to sacrifice anyone, especially the grown men. So we turned mostly to hobos, bums and bindle stiffs … most of them half dead when they washed up here anyway. We don’t get regular traffic of strangers through town, but you could say we’ve learned to keep our eyes open.
Fancy travelers we try not to use, because they get noticed. But if the time is approaching, and there is no other option, we do what needs doing.
We like our fields green and our crops high.
That, sir, is the story of The Blessing.
And that is why you are there; and I am here.
Please don’t scream, sir.
This won’t hurt a bit.