Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Knights of the Red Boot

I was five years old. It was raining and I was wearing my yellow rain coat with my red plastic boots. I was on my Grandma English's farm, deep in the woods with my Mother, Father and Grandma English. We were hunting Morel mushrooms. I can't remember if we found any, all I can remember is that I was cold, tired and wet.
"Mommy will you carry me?"
"Sure Bobby, I'll give you a piggy back ride to the car."
My Mother picked me up and slung me on her back. My Mother was young and beautiful but she didn't know how beautiful she was so I had to tell her everyday. As my family walked out of the woods I thought I must tell my Mother how beautiful she is. I fell asleep on my Mother back in the warm spring rain. I awoke as my Mother tried to set me in the car.
"Mommy I lost one of my boots."
"Don't worry sweetheart we'll find it next time we mushroom hunt."
For years my Mother and I looked for the Red Boot. I grew into a man and the Red Boot was forgotten.I married and had two sons. When my sons were old enough I took them mushroom hunting in the woods.Years pasted and one day my Mother began to talk about the Red Boot to her Grandsons.
"I know where the Red Boot is Grandma." said Mark her oldest Grandson.
"Me too." said Micheal her youngest Grandson.
"I know it's silly but it would mean a lot to me if you could find the Red Boot." said my Mother.
"Tomorrow sons we go on a quest for the Red Boot."
The next day we drove out to the edge of the woods on the family farm.We left our station wagon by the country road and walked across the back field. I stopped just before we entered the woods.
"We are on a sacred quest sons for the Queen of the Vollrath family. As Prince of my lost Childhood I dub the three of us Knights of the Red Boot. Sit thy hand upon your father's youngest and oldest sons. Swear to be true to the quest and not to return from these haunted woods until thy quest be done."
"I swear Father." said Mark.
"Me too." said Micheal.
"Then truly we be Knights and the quest begins."
The three of us walked into the woods. Mark was 12, Micheal was 9 and I was an ageless child of wonder.Deep in the woods we came upon the rotting body of a great beast. The air was full of the smell of death and bright red beetles were eating the rotting flesh.
"We have come upon body of a great dragon slain by the Lord of the Land. Stay clear of this place of death Knights for this dragon wasn't evil but was consumed by evil."
I tried to hide my anger from my sons. This was the carcass of the dead horse that I had helped my Uncle Jim chain to a tractor to be drug out to this spot, brought back a flood of memories. Was this the horse that my cousin Cathy had taught me to ride on? Why did my Aunt and Uncle let those two horses flounder? I remember walking out of the woods with my mother after mushroom hunting and seeing the two horses with their hoofs growing up and curving back almost touching the shank of their legs. I screamed in rage! I called my Uncle that night and begged him to do something about it. The hoofs were too far gone and the horses suffered till their dying day.
I then saw the old rotting oak tree. The termites had been working on it for years. For years I had been trying to push it over with brute strength. The tree's trunk was four feet in diameter but it fell this time as I crashed into it. I almost fell with the tree into the creek. I heard my sons laughing.
"I have not found the Red Boot within the core of this rotting tree brave knights."
I was tired and my shoulder hurt from pushing the tree over so my sons brave knights that they were took the lead in the quest. Then I heard my oldest son yelling.
"We found it dad! We found the Red Boot!"
"I helped dig it out of the creek bed dad!" said my youngest son.
We took the red boot and gave it to the Queen. The Queen is older now but she is still beautiful and I must with my sons remember to tell her that because she doesn't know how beautiful she is to her family.
Of all the things I remember about the quest for the Red Boot, the strangest is the fact that those red beetles are an endangered species now and I only saw them that one time on the quest.

1 comment:

Robert A Vollrath said...

While the Knights of the Red Boot happened the story is made from three visits to the family farm instead of one.

The beetles in the story is the endangered American Burying Beetle.

I remember the beetles as red and black but I think the true color is more orange-red. The stench of the dead horse keep me from looking at the beetles up close.