A collection of short romantic adventure stories of the Divine She and her magical metaphysical tour. One might find her playing a piano at Saint Valentines, with messages noted in her gypsy jazzy riffs, meet her in an elevator or find her in a trumpet serenade as she walks along the bayou searching a connection for romantic restless hearts. She Journeys by Laura Botsford
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The Trumpets – Chapter from She Journeys
by Laura Botsford
I was walking along the high bank of Bayou Bartholomew, when I came to a crossroad. I stood wondering which way to go then I heard through the morning, languid mists the sound of a trumpet playing like a prayer across the cotton field. From on top of a fluffy top of abundantly billowing cotton plant ebulliently spilling out of its brown cracked boll like snow sat a bird singing. The bird was harmonizing to the trumpet with a sacred gospel choir riveting; the trumpet went “Ba da ski dat.” The bird echoed in return. “Ble do ah tweet ahh,” The trumpet answered. I looked over to the left of sunrise, where pouring through the clouds in cathedral sun-rays of God light, I saw a middle aged man playing his horn from his front porch with his eyes closed.
I walked towards him for a closer listen of his bluesy reverie. I only spoke when he had finished so as not to disrupt the muse that so sweetly whelmed up from a place so deep and close to his heart. His last loving note echoed out through the fields, carrying his song along the Bayou’s ancient, murky waters all the way to Louisiana.
“Hey,” I softly said. He hadn’t seen me coming up the turn row and was a little startled by my arrival.
“Hey there back at you. Where did you come from Missy?” He asked.
“I fell out of the sky Mister Trumpet Man,” I said. He grinned widely, flashing a full set of pearly whites.
“You know I thought as much. What’s your name?” He asked.
“My name is River. My mama named me that because she knew that I would be going wherever the flow of my life led me.” I was honest. My mother was wise. She always knew that I was a highway gypsy, born to seek the fortunes and blessings of a wind seed. I landed wherever and grew like a wildflower in vibrant summer. He chuckled out a warm laugh that burbled up from his core like a vintage recipe for happiness.
“Is that right? She had pretty good insight into her baby’s blue eyes.” He reflected further, “Come sit on the porch gypsy girl.”
I plunked down on the first step. “She’s pretty intuitive. What do you call that beautiful song you were playing?”
“I call it Serena’s Serenade,” Mr. Trumpet man replied.
“You write music? Well fancy that. I do too.” I said happy to find a fellow musician.
“Is that right?” He said, delighting in our common thread of a love of music.
“Yes sir, I have my book right here of every song that I’ve ever written. I’m going to record them someday.” I said proudly, confident that I would when I got to the coast.
He sat down in a chair on the porch and looked me in straight in the eye. He took a breath in as if to inhale my true intentions, checking me out to see if I was trustworthy.
“What brings you around to these parts?” He asked.
“I am on a mission,” I assuredly told him.
“You are, what’s that you say?” He sincerely asked through a smile that curled only slightly in recognition of the naiveté of my youthful enthusiasm. Older people find youth either to be ponderously irritating or refreshingly wondrous. I was pleased that he was leaning into the later.
“I was thinking it was faith; that boundless blind faith that wherever I walk, God walks with me. I want to see if it‘s true or not.”
“Well what have you and God come up with so far?” He asked
“I’m thinking those biscuits sure smell good.” I was hungrier for food than I was for soul searching so early in the day. Mr. Trumpet Man laughed and called through the screen door.
“Mama we have company for breakfast.” Mr. Trumpet happily announced. Just then his wife pushed the screen door opened, making a squeaking sound like a cricket sending code from its secrete hiding place. She stepped out like a regal iris in full golden glory, wearing a springtime flowered apron abloom with friendly daisies. She was everything he had played in his song, bluesy and sweet, and lovely as a new morning.
“What did you say Roosevelt?” Noticing me she went on to say, “Well hey their little lady, and come on in. I’ll set a place for you.” The screen door welcomingly squeaked open again, and out scampered their dog that licked a sloppy hello on my cheek.
“Well boy, it’s nice to see you too. What’s his name?” I asked.
“That’s Angus.” Mr. Trumpet replied.
“Well Angus, you sure are a sweetie pie, come here boy. Good doggie, yes, you are. I guess you’re about the nicest folks I’ve run into for days.” I meant that too. I looked up at them, as Angus smiled at them also; he knew they were some kind of wonderful. I was appreciative of their kindness. So often on the road people are suspicious of wanders. I can’t say that I blame them. It takes a discerning eye to know the difference between the good, the bad and the socio- ugly. I can see it in their eyes as they fly by in their cars. Women who want to stop and help me but don’t because their husbands are certain that I will rob them or worse. I empathize. I can see a myriad of emotions and thoughts go through them. Some are afraid; convinced I may be some kind of renegade bandita or a monster on the move. Others pity me, and wonder if I am a runaway, doomed to a life of prostitutions of mind, body and spirit in order to survive. I can’t blame them but none of their imaginings are valid. I am just a traveler without a car.
“Mamma, this little lady’s name is River she tells me she is on a mission of faith,” Mr. Trumpet said.
“She is?” She laughed warmly like her husband. I felt this was the sound in the place where their hearts connected right inside this laugh.
“Yes, she wants to find out if it works.” He did a little soft shoe on the wooden porch and slapped his leg, “So she’s stepped out on faith and is traveling around alone.” Mr. Trumpet got a serious nuance in his voice when he said the word, “alone”. I knew their concerns were valid.
“Well, the Lord does provide all though this is a radical way to come to know the Lord. Aren’t you scared honey?” Serena thoughtfully implored.
“No, I’m not scared. I’ve been traveling now for about two weeks and I will have to say that I have had all my needs met. I trust that God walks with me. Sometimes I get a little lonely and wish had someone to talk to. But if I’m patient someone comes around in the day to talk, someone rare, spectacularly genuine, like you; there are more good people in the world than bad. She set the biscuits on the table and gave me a little pat on the shoulder.
“But, don’t you miss your home?” She asked.
“Sometimes, my home is where ever I am. My living room is the ever-changing sky. The people I meet are my extended family. The scenery is the pictures on my walls and they are always new. I like it this way right now. Every day is a great adventure. Besides, my folks are gone. They passed away a couple of years ago. They still watch over me from their kitchen in Heaven, eating brownies and drinking coffee. I talk to them on Heaven’s telephone all the time. In fact they told me when I got to California; I should look up Auntie Lee. I wrote her and told her I was coming out to visit, she just doesn’t know how I’m getting there. If she did, she’d be worried. So, when I get there I’ll give her a call from the bus station.” I smiled and lit up like candles at a birthday party. “I see you have some raspberry jam Mamn.”
“Oh here you go honey, help yourself.” She generously placed the ruby jeweled, homemade delight down in front of me.
“You load up those biscuits. We can’t have our faith walkers falling down along the King’s Highway, can we now Poppa?” She cheerfully said.
“No we can’t Serena,” he laughed full heartedly, pushing the plate of tasty warm biscuits closer to me. I scooped up all the jam I could safely navigate to my mouth, then looked at these lovely people and understood why he plays his trumpet so lovingly for his Serena. It’s nice that some people can find their own heaven right where they live, knowing that someone loves them.
I thought about how all the faith in the universe can be known just between two people. Maybe my wandering star days will eventually bring me to a home like this.
“Breakfast was so good folks, I best be getting out on the road, unless you want to hear one of my songs?” I asked.
“Well, we sure would.” Mrs. Trumpet said. I got out my guitar and began to play. It was my way of thanking them for their hospitality. I improvised right on the spot with a song I later named as, Bayou Brethren.”
“I traveled the banks of Bayou Bartholomew and came upon the Kittrel place, full of promise, sure of faith. I stopped to pick some cotton out from a brown cracked boll stuffed it in my walking shoes, cos my right one had a hole. I heard a bird singing along with a trumpet man so fair, Sat down to listen and put a wild flower in my hair. Sometimes my folks watch over me; they’re in Heaven you know. But I feel them all around me everywhere I go. Some say that angels aren’t people but I think they are wrong. They come in all colors; they make me feel I belong. Raspberry jam on the table, warm biscuits they bring, Until I am able, to freely walk on. Of this, my thankful heart sings.”
Mr. Trumpet got out his horn and played along with me. Angus howled a melodic harmony too as a train blended in a rhapsodic cello chord off in the distance. The sweet honeysuckle filled my voice and off in the clouds beams of more God light poured through a blue sky. Now how can one argue with this when God is all around and such friends can be found?