of Master Samuel Gees.

A friend drops by

I had a bit of a surprise today – a very old friend showed up on my door step. I haven’t seen Red Beard in almost ten years – he hasn’t changed a bit. I wonder if he thinks the same?

I invited him to stay for dinner and we started talking while we waited for Brian to cook it. We started by talking about what we’ve both been doing for the last ten years, but quickly the conversation turned to the many years that we shared together.

It is amazing to me how a simple reunion can bring back so many memories. We talked about things I haven’t thought about for decades. The other thing that amazes me is how our minds decide to remember the important things. Not necessarily the most exciting things, but the things that had an impact on who we are today.

For example, one of the things we remembered was a trip we took to a dark and damp swamp. We remembered the treasure we found, but the thing we talked about was the way we both struggled and both helped each other.

We had been traveling for a week or so when we reached the edge of the jungle. Both being from temperate mountain regions, Red Beard and I were not really ready for the hot, damp, darkness that was before us. Besides the thickness of the underbrush and the enormous size of the leaves on those plants, it was raining. Now of course we had both been in rain before, but this rain was different – it was warm. I don’t really know how to explain it in a way that you might understand. Perhaps if you have ever stood by a hot stove with pots of water on it boiling, or better yet, had a tea pot on the stove too long and then walked into the room.

The air was so full of water it was hard to breath. We stood there for a long time – with the rain beating down on us – with the ground steaming – wondering if we should trudge forward or turn around and head for dryer ground. In the end we decided to keep going – after all, if the treasure we were seeking was hard to get to, it might mean no one else had beaten us to it.

As you might know, dwarves are not fond of the water, or should I say, have a healthy fear of it. So of course what do we find in a jungle where it is raining all of the time, lots of water. There were puddles, tracts of mud, ponds, streams, lakes, and rivers. Each one had to be traversed, walked around, jumped over, or swam through. Needless to say, Red Beard was not a happy dwarf.

But you know what? That’s not the thing Red Beard thinks about when he remembers that adventure. No, Red Beard remembers how well we worked together. He remembers how I carried him across some of the streams and rivers. He remembers how we built a platform to sleep on to keep us out of the water that was on the ground, and to help protect us from all of the creatures that were crawling around down there.

I remembered the third day when Red Beard found some tracks. I didn’t really care about them, but Red Bread insisted on spending some time studying them.

“Look, they’re as large as mine, but they’re from a bird or lizard,” said Red Beard. “Look here! I think this is a tail mark, and it looks like there are only one type of prints.”

I don’t think I really cared and said something like, “So?”

Red Beard didn’t seem to notice then, and he didn’t bring it up while we were talking about it today. What he does remember was being excited that he identified some tracks.

“Do you remember,” he almost yelled at me today, “I told you that they were the foot prints of a lizardman, and I was right. Because I saw them and identified then, we were more carful, and we saw the pack of lizardmen before they could see us.”

Looking back on it, that one point doesn’t seem very important to me, but to Red Beard it was the moment. That was the point were he went from just being a fighter to being a tracker. It was the point where he realized that the training he had been doing was actually making a difference.

And now, way too many years later, he remembered that event and then was able to pick out dozens of other events, that came after it, that were different because of it.

Red Beard left my house thankful. Not just because he had just finished a great meal, or had spent time talking with a friend, but because he realized how blessed his life has been and how little things like being able to identify who made a footprint has made him a blessing to others.

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