Coach Dan’s Tale 1H

“I had heard they were throwing a retirement party for Josef, so I made my way back to the college, first time since I had graduated. He hadn’t changed much in those six, seven years — his hair was exactly the same, no more or less of it than before, all of it no more or less gray. Eyebrows still huge, like caterpillars. Still didn’t look you in the eye, unless he was agitated. And that growl,” Coach Dan continued, lowering his voice, “low and guttural, whether he was happy or angry.

Resuming his normal speaking voice, he continued. “That growl caught me right when I got there. None of this Hello Daniel how’s life from him, he got right to business. He must have heard that I had gone into teaching, because the first thing that growl says to me is, Where you teach?

Coach Dan looked around the small room, made eye contact with everyone sitting there as he smiled and said, “And I tell him about this wonderful little town I found one day on vacation. Where the air, the water are clean. Where you can hear and feel the beauty of stillness. Where the people look after each other, while still minding their own business. Whee nobody’s too busy to lend a hand, or too scared to say a kind word.”

“Mind telling me where this place is,” said the man in the baseball cap, the darkness on his face demonstrating his seriousness. “Ain’t anywhere around here, I’ll tell you that.” The short-haired woman turned, slapped him on his arm.”

“Sorry, got a little self-indulgent there. Yes, Bark Bay has its problems, but when I stumbled on this place — literally, I was on a fishing trip with an old buddy from college, up to Greenwich Lake,” he said, waving his arm in what he believed to be towards the northwest, “I slipped on some rocks getting into a boat, had to stay at the Inn a few days to recuperate — I just fell in love with the place, with the people. Met Steph, she was waitressing that summer, found out she was a teacher, kept in touch with her and when a job opened at the high school a couple years later, I made the move. Haven’t looked back since.”

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