Stopped at his trailer. His wife hugged me.
She started crying.
It was early. She didn't know I was coming,
"Sorry, I wasn't here sooner."
"It's alright. , I read your letter."
"I'm going digging. He said, now that I've showed you this place you'll sneak back without me. I told him I wouldn't."
"It's OK. You can go, now."
"It's not like I'm going there without him."
"People ask, am I going to move? Why? Why should I move? There's his shoes and coat. I don't touch them."
"If he was here he'd be giving you that good-bye kiss. He loved you. Always talked about you."
"One of his relatives called. One that never came to see us. Asked, uh, what are you going to do with his agate and Indian relics? I'll take care of them, if you want? I told him, they aren't for sale. They'll never be for sale."
"I don't blame you. The memories."
"Oh, I've got memories. More memories than those rocks."
"He was always good to me."
"He loved you like a son. Thought you were so smart."
"He was the smart one. The best digger I ever knew."
"They called from the funeral home. Said they were already on their way. Bringing his ashes. II couldn't take that. I couldn't. I told them to take them back. He had a Will. Wanted me and you to take his ashes and spread them where you all dug at Middle Fork. Will you go with me to do that?"
"Go on and go digging. I'd give you his sifter and shovel only... the law never returned them."
Three hours later, I was on the wooded trail he and I had marked. There was a place where we had stopped at the edge of a cliff and had to slide down the steep hill by an old hemlock. I stood there for such a long time, looking, remembering. I saw us sliding down by that hemlock.