by MacBride Callihan
Prophet Nation, it’s me! Knock
Knock Knock! Come on, hurry! Dag-burnit it’s pouring the
rain, hahaaa! OKAY I’M INNNNN! THANK YOU! Hey, um, got a cup
of coffee for me?! HA! Welcome Propheteers, it’s your pal,
the Holbrook Crook! God bless ya’ll, you believers of hope, of
love, and of humility. So...what keeps your faith in the Lord alive?
What sustains your belief in a loving creator of mankind when the
world has fallen to lower and lower depths of unthinkable treachery?
Write about it, talk about it, go go go!
Anyway, our boys are doing just fine,
as pre-season basketball is in full stride at this point. The boys
are improving, loving life, serving as an inspiration, and just
contributing all around to their respective teams. More next month
on that, but for now, that’s all I’ve got on the Hoopdom
front...Propheteers, I hope you are cozying up snug under the harvest
moon and under a hand-knitted quilt, sipping on apple cider. For
tonight, I have an unexpected report to relay to you, and I am not
the author of it.
Yesterday evening, out at my farm in
Argillite, my 3 year old grandson Gatsby and I went digging for lost
treasure. Two small shovels, two tin buckets, a couple canteens of
lemonade, and we were set! Gatsby surveyed the land before deciding
upon a barren patch in the northeastern corner of my soybean field.
I took little trinkets, marbles, and various things for him to
unearth, for that warms my heart fully and tickles me so to see his
eyes light up with discovery.
So we had dug down about a foot into
the planet when Gatsby became distracted by an enormous, gliding hawk
overhead. This was my little window of opportunity to hide some
fool’s gold and a turtle shell under the loose dirt in the
hole, I remember thinking. So I quickly tossed the treasure into the
hole and covered them with dirt. Gatsby was looking skyward, and
declared with conviction that the hawk was hunting a “mean,
giant rattlesnake”, and we watched the winged predator lazily
coast over the distant hillside and out of sight.
Gatsby hopped back down in the hole
and resumed his digging; he struck it rich instantly with the turtle
shell and golden nuggets, celebrating with a loud woop! His eyes lit
up I tell you, Propheteers! I acted awed and excited, relishing
every second of it. Children and grandchildren bring out the
wondrous innocence in all of us, don’t they?!
Though Gatsby was satisfied with these
stellar finds, he wasn’t finished just yet. He never is. I
encouraged his digging, because we might still yet find some dinosaur
fossils (I had a few fox jaw bones hidden in my sock). With his
sturdy mini garden shovel, he sunk a powerful stab into the Earth and
we hard a hollow, tinny sound. He looked at me with electric
eyes--he had hit something solid.
I quickly lay flat on my stomach and
reached down into the cool, soft dirt to help him uncover the object.
We had to dig another inch or two, and Gatsby outlined it with his
finger...it was a small and rectangular tin box, possibly a cigar
box. I wedged the little shover under it and pried it up and out.
Gatsby was ecstatic, shouting, “Papawl! Papawl! The hidden
treasure from the ancestors. They buried it! Or pirates did it!”
“I know!” I replied in
genuine awe, equally as shocked. “Let’s see what’s
in it, Buster!”
“Okay, papaw,” Gatsby
slowed his speech, speaking reverently of the box, “but we must
be very careful with it...it’s really old.”
“Yes my boy...you’re
right…” I said, taking his cue and studying the cigar
“Let’s open it but be
gentle, Papawl, because you are so strong.”
I smiled at little Gats and said,
“let’s see what’s inside.”
With very little effort, the caked on
lid just fell off the top. I reached in with two fingers and pulled
out a cloudy little glass scroll tube, sealed thickly with wax at
it’s opening. With my pocket knife, I scraped off the wax.
Gatsby and I peered into the tube and I sure enough, there was what
appeared to be an actual scroll inside!
“A treasure map! Let’s
look, Papaw!” Gatsby screamed, nearly shaking with excitement.
I shook the contents out on the barren
soybean field and was astonished to find two separate scrolls. We
unrolled them slowly and with great care; both pages, to my surprise,
were remarkably legible and intact. A wax seal, Prophet Nation, can
protect anything! For any amount of time! Ha!
So, wow, yeah...Gatsby was in a
frenzy, claiming the words revealed directions to a wild Dragon City
located in the clouds. I agreed that it very well might. My
interest was certainly piqued! So I had little Gats sit in my lap
there in the soybean field under the warming glow of the October sun,
and I began reading aloud the scrolls.
Here is what it said, Prophet Peoples:
this morn, Rowan Leander took me by the hand, pulled me out of the
bed, and led me down the stairs. My dear wife Jillian was softly
humming a peaceful, calming melody I’d never heard. Jillian
stood over the wood stove, cooking oats and biscuits. Rowan took me
approached her quietly and she pretended not to know or hear, as is
our morning custom. I placed my hands gently upon her hips and
nestled close behind her. She turned her head slightly to the left,
and I could see her begin to smile. A few strands of her dark hair
fell languidly over her ear just as I leaned in to kiss her cheek.
She is surely the most beautiful, spirited woman I have ever had the
privilege to know, and for that I am eternally grateful and lucky.
three of us each took turns praying aloud to our Lord for all his
blessings and all he has provided. Then we nourished ourselves with
the hot breakfast which Jillian had prepared so lovingly.
little Rowan and I kissed her goodbye and left the farm with a
hatchet for chopping and a basket for gathering. We walked the
narrow and winding forest path toward the cliffs that overlook her
cold majesty, the North Atlantic. Easterly headwinds blew with an
uncommon strength, and were unseasonably chilly for early September.
The sky was cloudless and bright, a never ending blue. The air
smelled saltier with each step we took.
little Rowan and I arrived at the cliffside, we were awed by the
breathtaking view, as we are every time we look upon the sea. The
heavy winds had her in an uproar, and her waves crashed without mercy
high upon the rock cliffs below us. Hand in hand, we meditated on
the bluff with crossed-legs and closed eyes for about one minute. My
dearest Rowan Leander, such a spritely lad of four years, stayed
completely quiet for the whole minute! I find it imperative to teach
him patience and appreciation for nature at his tender, young age.
a short time we told the raging sea farewell and turned back onto the
trail. About a half kilometer into our homeward hike, we veered off
the trail and into a thick patch of first willows sprinkled with the
occasional cyprus, and finally oaks. We hopped over a rushing,
crystal clear thrutch along the way. We admired the attributes
unique to the various families of trees. Little Rowan is immensely
fascinated and intrigued by the whole existence of forests, and by
the animals who inhabit them.
pointed out to me an enormous oak with a fork near the bottom, as if
it were a set of grown twins who were connected at birth. The lush
fork contained a fair sized rowan tree...the tree for which my son
tree! A rowan tree, daddy! It’s growing like me! How does it
grow on that oak tree?”
I explained to him that birds eat rowan berries, and because of
that, their droppings contain rowan seeds. A bird passing overhead
unknowingly (or actually, perhaps knowingly) dropped some rowan seed
right where this tremendous oak splits in two. As legend has it, I
told him, the wood from a “flying” rowan tree such as
this is particularly powerful against malevolent forces.
Leander held the wicker basket and I pulled my hatchet out to chop a
few limbs down to take home. The patches of red berries were vibrant
and numerous; they had just recently bloomed, as they do every
had to chop several times and with considerable might to procure a
single little limb; for the wood of a rowan is very dense. As I went
to chop a second limb, I noticed a bustling within the tree. In a
flash, a scarlet thrush rocketed out of the tree and bombarded me,
trying to slap my head with it’s wings. He was fiercely
defending his food source (for thrushes mainly dine on the rowan
berry), and he was willing to take on a giant with a hatchet. We
respected his fight, and his bravery!
Little Rowan Leander was filled with fright at first, but then
began laughing at the irritated, invaded, swooping scarlet thrush. I
hastily chopped the second limb, took Rowan’s hand, and
hurriedly escaped that danger zone!
arriving back at the farm, Rowan explained to Jillian our adventure
in great detail and with great vigor. She soaked it up with a loving
smile...an active listener to his wild tale.
bit later, we all built an abacus together with a variety of wood.
We whittled, measured, and did some auguring. It was a project for
the ages...a fun one! With the leftover rowan wood, I created four
amulets. Jillian made necklaces out of three, for each of us, and
the fourth we hung at the front gate of our house. When it comes to
deflecting misfortune or a witch’s hex, there is no better
apotropaic power than rowan wood.
have written this note in the earnest hope that it finds you well;
that it may inspire and brighten your day; that it may spark and
strengthen your love of nature’s unmatched beauty. I realize
fully that these scrolls may never reach anyone’s hands at
all...but that doesn’t mean I’ve quilled them in vain.
For I’d like you to know I was here for a time, and that I
lived. And that if this has found you by some fortunate
happenstance, I believe you are reading it for a reason. Embrace
what you love wholeheartedly and unabashedly.
we meet again,
County Donegal, N. Ireland
7 September, 1891
can’t really say anything else. Colin Harrington just dropped
the mic, Prophet Nation! Weeeee! Ha! Until next time,
guys...phew...I love my job. I’m Smith Holbrook, and it’s