It generally takes a while for the message to come through my circle of friends and this year it trickled in later than normal but the note said your acorn flour is ready so I made plans to go visit Mrs. Chester.
She’s married to Chester who comes from one long line of Chester’s. The Chester I know, is fourth generation and his great grandfather was born in the home they live in now.
The house sits about eighty feet above one fast flowing stretch of river that holds some nighttime browns that I’ve sampled a time or two. Mrs. Chester and I would meet in the river on various late afternoons where she might be washing a pot, a cast iron pan or one or two of her grandchildren.
After a few visits she offered I give her some trout and she’d fix me up with maple syrup. Well over the years I’ve come to appreciate much about cattail pollen flapjacks and the acorn flour that little old woman whose much like anyone’s favorite grandma can be and could gather. She makes a door mat from reeds or weeds that only lasts one summer. When it wears out, she says Mother Nature grows her a fresh one every year.
Then there’s Chester, he was an adjunct professor his adult life in the field of astrophysics where according to Mrs. Chester he taught at some of the top universities in the country, until, well according to Chester they didn’t renew his contract because he thought he didn’t have enough degrees to keep pace with the new profs coming into the field, but according to Mrs. Chester it had more to do with Chester. She always said Chester was like a car engine with a fan belt whirring around but it always slipped abit by the water pump cause Chester could get all hot and bothered about something he was thinking over, not mad mind you, but so worked up he would lose his train of thought or where he should be and just wander off or out of class he was supposed to be teaching. Chester has been retired about seven years now; the Mrs. says she put him out to pasture for the good of the Chester and the field. Some say he lost his mind, I ask her is he okay, is he doing allright, Mrs. says, that’s just my Chester.
Today when I left Chester he was digging snow out of holes next to various shrubs and trees. Chester was studying how the soil looked next to frozen root stocks or frozen roots by rocks, or frozen soil by roots, I’m never just too sure what Chester is saying.
Mrs. Chester and Chester have five grown children and today it’s like Mrs. Chester is mother to one more. She goes and gets him, knocks the snow off his winter wool pants about the knees and says time to come to lunch.
Chester gets up, looks at me like he’s looking through me, and I give Mrs. Chester a hug. Then I drive away with my acorn flour. The trout whisperer