Courtney Miller is a multi-award winning author in the genres Historical Fiction, Faction (Fiction based on Fact), Young Adult, Fiction, Mystery, and Geezer Lit. He is the author of The Cherokee Chronicles, The White Feather Mysteries, and Native American Antiquity.
Misunderstanding is not limited to old geezers, but definitely comes with the territory. My wife and I play a game called "Here is what I think you said." I have found that I don't hear correctly for reasons that are more than just failing hearing. I may not start listening immediately and miss the beginning of what was said so that what I did hear doesn't make sense. Ralph would fall into this category. His hearing is fine, but he is a lazy and impatient listener who often only halfway listens to what others are saying. So, he is prone to jump to incorrect conclusions. He gets angry when his friends laugh at him because of insecurities not necessarily associated with hearing loss. Many of us old geezers worry about losing our ability to comprehend and that is more frightening than just losing our ability to hear.
Murder on the Royal Gorge Express
The direct rays from the morning sun made the snowcapped Sangre de Christo mountains sparkle while puffy but shadowy, subdued clouds perched over them. The dining room mood was gloomy matching the heavily filtered light from outside. Ralph Jacobs had been focused on his meal. Albert Stein sat thoughtfully engaged with his newspaper. Walter Montgomery had paused to study the curious newcomer sitting alone in the corner. Frank Roberts chewed on a crunchy English muffin and wiped butter from the corner of his mouth. Ralph loaded his mouth with a slice of biscuit dripping with cream gravy, glanced at the empty chair at their table and asked, “Where’s the Injun?” Frank replied, “White Feather has gone to ride the Royal Gorge Express today.” “What’s that?” Ralph countered. “The train over in Canon City.” Ralph swallowed and reloaded with bacon, “Where’s he going?” “Well, to ride the train, as I said.” “Where?” Albert got it, “It doesn’t go anywhere, Rudolph, just up through the Royal Gorge canyon and then back to Canon City.” Ralph paused and stared at Albert, “Why? They forget something?” Frank was exasperated. Albert resumed reading. Walter asked, “Why do you think he’s so sullen?” Ralph bit off a piece of bacon and sliced off more biscuit and gravy with the edge of his fork, “Probably, because he didn’t get nowhere.” Walter looked at Ralph bewildered. Frank glanced over at the newcomer in the corner. Walter was right, the elderly man looked sullen and defiant sitting all alone. “What do you know about him, Albert?” Ralph stuffed the dripping bite in his mouth, “Yeah, he gonna stay on or get off?” Albert closed and folded the paper and set it beside his plate. “Not much. Birdie thinks he may have been the sheriff in Wet Mountain Valley years ago.” Ralph reached for his glass of orange juice, “Not likely them ranchers would let an Injun sheriff ‘em.” Walter frowned. “Injun? You think he’s Native American?” Ralph managed, “Duh!” before placing the glass to his lips. Walter shook his head. Frank commented, “Doesn’t look Native American, does he?” Albert chuckled, “It seems you gentlemen are not on the same page.” Ralph set down his orange juice, “Duh!” Albert smiled at Ralph, “We’re talking about the new resident sitting alone over there, Rudolph. You are still hung up on White Feather.” Ralph jerked his head around. “I thought you said he was in Canon City?” Frank was frustrated, “White Feather IS in Canon City. We’re not talking about White Feather!” “He ain’t ridin’ that train?” Ralph, Walter and Albert looked at each other and then burst out laughing. Ralph glared at them, threw down his fork and stormed out of the dining room.