I’ve had a dream. Nothing along the lines of Martin Luther King Jr’s dream but a dream nonetheless. This dream that I have dreamt for many a dreamy day is one that I will continue dreaming about for many a dream-filled nights until it ceases to be just a daydream…
This dream that I speak of started when I was but a young (er) man wandering along the road of life. I had no destination in mind but instead relied on the wind to point me in the right direction. Each day, each moment, brought something new, something exciting. The wind led me and I followed dutifully, willingly. My responsibilities were few. Certainly I had to work to pay the scant bills that I had then but they were nothing compared to those I would be required to pay in later life. By-the-by, I found myself, one day, long ago, traveling about when I saw a sign; a sign that was to start my dream down its gravely path.
It was a warm spring day when I found myself traveling down a road leading to my destination: somewhere. As I dallied along the cindery path feeling the warm rays of the sun warm my winter-chilled bones, I came across a sign. A sign that had written on it but one word: Jerky.
“Jerky,” I, unexpectedly, thought to myself as I read the sign that said “jerky”. As I lazily examined the sign further I felt a gust of wind blow across the road, rustling the leaves of the trees a rustling not unlike that the “jerky” sign had created in my soul.
The sign itself was made in a simple manner; a few boards nailed together, whitewashed, and, painted in red, that one simple word: Jerky. It’s impossible to say how long I stood there looking at the sign; touching the sign; being the sign. It could have been a decade as easy as a minute, but regardless of how much time had indeed passed it was time well spent and time that would change me forever.
If not for the call of nature I may have stood at that wonderful sign until I went on to meet my maker, as it were, I, as discreetly as I could muster, made my way on down the road and, as no amount of walking like Charlie Chaplin would do, eventually into the bushes to answer said call of nature. My moment with nature concluded I continued on the road to somewhere.
As my traveling progressed and the rays of the sun continued to beat down upon my now-thawing bones the “jerky” sign slowly released its grip on my soul and consciousness until…another sign (Jerky!).
And another (Jerky! 1 mile)
And another (Jerky! 1/2 mile)
And another (Beef jerky!)
And another (Elk Jerky!)
And another, and another, and another (Elk Jerky! Salmon Jerky! Armadillo Jerky!)
So many signs! So much excitement! My heart could hardly bear the anticipation of seeing another sign, let alone the place (and the jerky) that these signs must inevitably lead to.
1/8 of a mile!
I had made it!
My journey, a journey that I had no idea I was taking, had ended. I felt a rush of emotions: fear, happiness, sadness, the calling of nature. After another quick moment “communing” with nature, I set my gaze upon the most glorious site mine eyes have ever laid upon. It was a shack, yes. It was in need of a number of repairs, yes. It was covered in moss, had weeds rising up to half the height of it’s roof and smelt of the call of nature (Yes! Yes! Yes!), but it was more than that.
This shack, nay, this structure of refined beauty was everything I had imagined it to be. There were walls (to an extent)! There was a roof (more or less)! There was a sign of such magnificence that I felt compelled to kneel before it. The sign, while simple and, again, made up of just one simple yet awe-inspiring word (Jerky), was a sight that I continue to dream about to this day.
I stood slowly from my kneeling position and, eyes averted from the overwhelming glory of the sign, reverently made my way towards the front of this wonderful structure, this shack!
As I slowly made my way through the waist-high grass and trash-strewn ground I chanced a gaze away from the shack and noticed that it was but I at this shack.
“It must be a sign,” I thought to myself. “This place is meant only for me!”
All those signs? For me!
The ramshackle condition of the building? For me!
The smells of something long ago forgotten that wishes not to be remembered? For me!
I nearly collapsed at this thought.
Who am I to deserve this? Nobody!
Who am I for someone to go through all of this trouble; make all of those signs? No one!
Why would any one jerk their meat just for me?
At any rate, I continued to walk slowly towards the door of this kingdom of jerky that had been erected just for me – a person of no consequence – and as I reached for the knob to open the door to my destiny I noticed something odd, something I knew at once must be wrong.
It was yet another sign.
A sign that, again, had but one word written upon it.
A sign that brought me to my knees yet again, though not out of reverence but out of defeat.
The wind blew. My breathe faltered. I fell from my knees to lying prostrate.
I cried. I gnashed my teeth. I wailed with such force that the trees shook and my body convulsed.
“NOOOOOOO!!!!!” I screamed with a force that was unbeknownst to me at that time. I pounded my fist against the sacred dirt of this jerky shack until my hands were no more than a pulpy mess.
Or at least I would have had a voice not spoken to me from what could only be the spirit world and said, “I’m sure there will be another jerky stand coming up so please stop acting like this in front of the kids!”
I didn’t want to hear those words but I relented nonetheless.
There would not be another jerky stand. Not one like this anyway.
I rose up, walked away and continued on my journey knowing that this jerky stand was special. This was the one that I would have remembered. This is the one that I would dream about; the one that I would someday buy and operate myself. And when that day came, and it will someday – I promise you that, it will be the jerky shack that will not disappoint any travelers.
My jerky shack will always be open.
My jerky shack will fulfill those searching for jerky as they travel along the road of life.
My jerky shack will be revered as I revered this shack before it crushed my very soul.
My jerky shack will be known as the shack where that guy jerks his meat all hours of the day, every day of the week.
My jerky shack…that is my dream.