Berenice Stories

Short Stories by John Oakes

A FAMILY PHOTOGRAPH

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He came from New Mexico and said that he was part Apache. His features bore this out as he had a touch of Aztec about his eyes. He wore cowboy boots, jeans and a sweatshirt most of the time and often a Stetson hat. It was said that he only had one pair of boots and when they were in for repair he would take to his bed. He was, at the time, unmarried and he lived as he pleased.

He said he had been a bomb aimer with the United Sates Army Air Force during the war against the Nazis. That may have been so. At least he wore his leather flying jacket when it was cold and it had the right look about it. In a town where there were people left over from both sides in that war the story was not unusual and excited little interest.

He had first come to Libya with one of the America oil drilling companies as a tool pusher or rough neck or the like. He was the best Kelly driller around. He had drifted from job to job and ended up in Benghazi running a company drilling for water where the wildcatting rigs set up in the desert.

As his water drilling company grew he employed more Americans to help him. He sent to the USA for his mother and her current husband and they set up house amongst us and entertained friends. She was a good cook and the family talked well at the table about their life in New Mexico. Stories of marital disputes settled with guns were not unusual in their repertoire.

They would show their family photographs around after supper. One was of a large group dressed up for a wedding or a funeral. It was the last family picture with aunt so and so they would say. They would point out the aunt and add that she was dead before they could get the photographer out to take the picture. They had dressed her up in her best frock and an uncle held her corps up from behind as the family stood in a row before the camera.

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Written by johnoakes

July 16, 2011 at 6:16 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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