The sky was a deep blue, the kind of color that seemed to draw you into its depths as you stared up into it. The temperature hovered around seventy degrees and humidity was nowhere to be found. No mosquitoes buzzed around ears and even the flies were keeping their distance. In short, it was a perfect day, the kind of day that lifted the spirits of even the dourest personalities.
“Gol-darn crap of a horseshoe! Must be bent,” the Old Man said, as his latest shot landed several inches left of the post. He bent down to pick up the next horseshoe. For the last twenty minutes, he and one of his many grandsons had been battling it out on the field of honor. The Old Man hated to lose at anything, especially horseshoes.
“We can quit if you’re getting tired, Gramps,” the grandson offered kindly.
“Ha!” The Old Man cackled maniacally. “Don’t think yer gonna git out of this so easy, you young pervert. You know I’m about to whip ya’ and yer tryin’ to weasel yer way out of bein’ humiliated. Nope, ain’t gonna work.” He drew back his arm and delivered a bullet of a shot that sent the horseshoe whirring around the metal post, before dropping to the dirt. “A ringer! Let’s see ya’ top that!”
The grandson picked up his next horseshoe and aimed carefully. The Old Man began to heckle him, trying to break his concentration.
“You know grandmother didn’t like you to use those words, Gramps,” the grandson reminded him.
“Grandmother. Your late wife?”
“Oh! Esmeralda! God rest her. Now, shoot, before I come over there and ram that horseshoe down your dang throat.”
The grandson tossed the horseshoe, but was a foot short of the post. The Old Man hooted derisively. “You throw like a…”
“Do you ever miss her, Gramps?” the grandson asked. He waited for a response, but the Old Man was staring off into the distance. The grandson kept silent, thinking that the Old Man was remembering those happy, bygone days he had spent with his dear wife. After a moment, he realized that the Old Man was instead looking intently at someone walking past the horseshoe pit.
“Gol-ding, look at that,” the Old Man said reverently. “Gimme my blood pressure medsin, boy.”
“Gramps! Remember your dearly departed wife!”
The Old Man snorted. “She’d want me to have a good time.”
“She was a fine woman,” the grandson sighed, remembering his sweet-natured, silver-haired grandmother.
“Yep,” the Old Man replied eagerly. “An’ she was a blonde, too!”
The grandson frowned. “I was referring to Grandma.”
“Grandmother! Your late wife?”
“God rest her.” The Old Man leaned forward, a forgotten horseshoe dangling from his right hand, and squinted against the sunlight. “Say, that one over there ain’t bad, neither.”