Rivers Flow
A novel
By Jim H. Ainsworth
© 2004 Jim H. Ainsworth

“Jake, I’m sure that stories about the flow have grown with retellin’ over the years, but the fact is that a man has a lot more control over his thinkin’ and his body than most folks ever use. The flow’s all about using that power more. Simple as that.”

Jake tugged on the brim of his straw hat. “It’s still confusing, though. We Rivers have the flow, but we seem to be having more hard luck than anybody right now.”

 “Life kicks everybody in the butt once in awhile, some more than others. You just have to get up and keep walking.” He flipped the stirrup across the seat and buckled the cinches. “Jaker Ridge, you can’t wait for everything to be perfect to start enjoying life.  It’s the little things in life that make a man happy. Don’t just drink your coffee in the morning. Enjoy it - smell it - taste it - let the smoke curl around your face and into your nose - experience it.”

“To tell the truth, I don’t like coffee much.”

Griffin chuckled softly as he pulled the stirrup back down, stepped into it, and mounted. Looking down from the horse, he smiled at his confused grandson.“If there’s ham and eggs, that’s even more to smile about. ”

Jake put his hand on Buddy’s hip and looked up at his grandfather. “You’re saying that all it takes to make you happy is a good cup of coffee and some ham and eggs to go with it?”

Griffin pulled his hat down a little and squinted into the east sun.  “On some days, you bet.” He crossed the reins and allowed them to rest on Buddy’s neck. He used his hands to play an imaginary fiddle. “Other days, it’s the feel of a good fiddle and bow, the sound of a guitar being strummed slow and easy, sharing a laugh or two with a good friend, a hug from a grandchild.  Griffin winked at Jake. “Sometimes, it’s the touch of a good-lookin’ woman.”

Jake had never heard his grandfather mention women before. It gave him a good feeling, like they were talking man to man.  Griffin shifted his weight in the saddle and it squeaked a little. Jake could smell the leather mixing with Buddy, already starting to sweat under the blankets. “I especially like the feeling you get when your hand is resting in the middle of a woman’s back before the music plays. Then the sound of music courses through your blood and sweeps you both across the dance floor.” He lifted the reins from Buddy’s neck. “Or the feel of a good horse between your legs in the morning.” As Buddy eased off, Griffin held him up and spoke over his shoulder. “You see, that’s what I’m trying to tell you; it ain’t just any one thing; it’s every little thing.” Griffin’s face lost its mellow look and took on an expression of almost pleading. “You remember when you first experienced the flow, how crystal clear everything seemed? That’s how life is supposed to be. Jake, you need to look at what you have to be grateful for...not at what you lost.” Griffin squeezed his legs against Buddy’s sides and rode away.

“When can I start roping calves?” Jake called out his daily question. Griffin just waved his hand in the air without turning to answer. Jake watched as his grandfather rode off with the warm morning sun at his back. In the autumn of his life, Griffin’s major material possessions were a horse, a saddle, and a fiddle. Still, he seemed to be the most contented person Jake knew.


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