M.L. Smoker

It Comes Down to This

The man who owned the only saddlery shop in
town refused, until the day he died, to sell back my
grandfather’s grass dance regalia. When the shop owner
was still alive, the wiry hairs on his knuckles stood on
end each time a new wind blew down Main Street. Later
he grew to call this “cancer” but I will always call it he
should have known better
. His wife, in some form of
mourning, says she too won’t sell us a single piece, even
if we can prove with old photos of my grandfather that
it was his. Instead, she says we have to buy the whole
shop, leather-crafting tools and all. (I heard it said once
that her husband made her promise this on his
deathbed, but who can say for sure.) Last month, on a
below-zero midnight, the building next door burned to
heaps of wreckage and ask, a brick wall separating the
flames from a glass case that holds my family’s heirloom.
They called this “luck,” that the whole block didn’t go
down too. I call it what’s ours is ours.

M.L. Smoker
It Comes Down to This is reprinted from Another Attempt at Rescue (c) 2005 by M.L. Smoker, by permission of Hanging Loose Press.