My Friend

Written By: Charles - Nov• 06•10

Samhain                                                   New (Thanksgiving) Moon

Thursday night around 9 pm I went out to the mailbox to drop The Book of Eli in the mail back to my buddies at Netflix.  It was not a cold night, a slight chill, but the night was clear.  From nowhere in our house can we see the eastern horizon, neighbor’s houses and woods block our view, so it came as a surprise to me to see an old friend there when I opened the mailbox and glanced to my left.

Orion’s brawny left shoulder and his glittering belt had begun to emerge.  Back a long while ago, the winter of 1968 and 1969, my last year in college, I worked at the magnalite corporation as a week-end night watchman.  I had a round leather clock with a shoulder strap and a key hole and every hour I had to walk a circuit in the factory, find a key hung from a metal chain, insert it in the clock, turn the key, remove it and move on to the next station.   I had no protective duties, rather I served at the leisure of magnalite’s insurance carrier who insisted on hourly inspections when the plant was empty.

When I was not on my ten-minute round, I spent time in the guard shack at the entrance to the parking lot.  I often divided my time between studying and dozing off since I had the 11:00 pm to 7:00 am shift, but when I left the shack for my rounds or to wake myself up, Orion was there.  Being in a large factory complex alone, at night, on the weekend, is lonely duty.  I liked it for that reason, but I found Orion’s presence companionable, and it gradually grew into a friendship.  He and I could talk.  We both stood watch in the night.

Since those days, now 41 years ago, each fall when Orion rises, I greet him as an old friend, a true snowbird, one who returns when the snow comes and leaves as it does.  My old college friend has come for his annual months long visit.  And I’m glad.

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