I met the old indian...
in Rapid City, South Dakota.
It was one of those perfect days,
with sunshine, and billowy clouds.
Crystal-blue skies were abundant.
It was a cool day, for August.
The Indian sat on a dilapidated park bench,
smiling widely at me.
A brown, wrinkled face, looked me up and down.
I was beat from the road...
I just pulled in from Sturgis,
the town that has the bike rally.
It was my first, sober vacation,
since I was a little boy.
Sturgis was an unlikely spot,
for a "first, sober vacation".
The Indian tapped the bench,
signaling me to sit down.
I had a sack of greasy hamburgers.
I gave him a couple of them.
He nodded his thanks to me.
We barely talked.
Instead, we ate in peace.
I offered him a smoke.
We both lit up, and felt good.
We watched the sunset.
It was beautiful.
The horizon held oranges, reds, violets.
Me and an old Indian saw these amazing colors,
framed majestic beauties.
He was from the Lakota tribe...
a very old man.
He fascinated me.
We shared some more small talk.
He shook my hand.
He didn't let go.
I thought that was strange.
He said he was a Holy man.
He looked into my eyes.
His eyes sparkled with love.
He told me that, "my new life would be good".
He said that, "I was on the right path".
The hair stood up, on the back of my neck.
He told me not to be afraid.
Then he said, "The Great Spirit is with you now."
I believed him.
He said, "My evil past is gone."
We hugged and parted.
I never asked for his name.
He gave me a great gift that day...
the gift of hope, for the future.
I got on my bike.
I felt cold wind on my face.
Yet, I experienced a strange warmth inside me.
I never thought I would be the same.
The greatest joy was in my heart.
That was six years in the past.
The tiny ember of love, he gave me, still flickers,
in my heart...A gift from an old man.
Sometimes I try to ignore it.
Then I see his face.
The vision of him, makes me nurture it...
I tend it until it is a flame...
then a bonfire...
where wise old chiefs sit...
and smile at me.