Edward Harkness



The night my uncle Charles died he asked Miriam, his second wife, to bring a photograph of Larry, Charles’ son, killed in Viet Nam July of ’68. She finds a shot of Larry taken not six months before his death. It’s a winter scene. Larry’s on skis, rose-cheeked, smart aleck grin, goggles on his forehead, his purple parka dotted with snow. His eyes are dark. A three day growth of beard stains his face. He’s engaged to a girl named Clare. They plan to marry in a meadow above Lake Tahoe. We get a call one warm night from Clare, her voice a whisper, saying Larry’s dead, far away, no details. Thirty years pass like thirty years. My uncle, dying, believes by staring at the picture of his boy he’ll close his eyes, open his eyes and there Larry will be, smirking, ready for a final run before dark sets in, and Charles says Let me take one more to remember you by. Charles knows his boy will be killed but he can’t bring himself to reveal this—It’s his boy, his only boy. Snow needles Charles’ gloveless hands. The place is Heavenly Valley, a few miles above Tahoe. Eight inches of new powder have fallen. Father and son stand together by the chairlift floodlight in a blue ring of neon, snow sparkling about them, the picture now face down on Charles’ chest, his eyes open, his lips working to say Larry, don’t go. One more shot, just one. I can’t see you in this crazy snow.

Copyright © 2002 Edward Harkness.  All Rights Reserved.

Back Home Next