Bad Things Happen When We Separate
Wyoming – Spring 1905
“For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”*
Reverend Spencer concluded his brief words of comfort and nodded toward one man among the few assembled mourners.
The sun warmed the meadow, this day in early spring, giving hope of new life, new beginnings and the promise of better days to come. Certainly heaven was mistaken! The sun should not be shining, the birds should not be singing. Not today.
“Thank you, Reverend Spencer.”
The man cleared his throat, several times, appearing to fight for control, before delivering his eulogy.
“Nothing can separate us.”
The words were spoken as if only to the deceased, not to the handful of gathered friends.
“I wish it were true. We been together through it all. Childhood. The home. Devil’s Hole. Even twenty years in the penitentiary.”
A few sniffs could be heard as handkerchiefs dabbed at the red, swollen eyes of several women in the group.
“I thought we had an agreement, an unwritten law of our own, to stay together. ‘Bad things happen when we separate.’ Didn’t you always say that? I know we broke our share of laws, laws of the state, laws in that Good Book the Reverend’s carrying. Even broke our own law a few times. Paid the price too as I recall.”
He paused and closed his eyes, remembering the incident in Santa Marta.
“We served our twenty years! We’re free men now! A whole new life to look forward to! How could you just up and leave me here to finish this on my own?”
Stooping low, he scooped up a handful of dirt and released it above the grave. Six feet below, it scattered across the lid of the pine box.
The man rose and placed his hat back on his head.
“Bad things happen when we separate, partner. I won’t say goodbye.”
Those gathered at the graveside closed their eyes and bowed their heads as Reverend Spencer offered a closing prayer. But the Reverend’s eyes did not close. He watched as the lone partner walked toward the hills, never turning back.
*Romans 8:37-39 King James Version
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