And as the sun faded, they knew it was FOOTBALL. (Cont.)

Out across the valley, the sun was rising.

A lone rider rode towards the fire.  The embers were dying down; having burned all night, they weren’t much more than charred dust.  The horse pulled up, and the man jumped off.

Pop was sleeping in his poncho, to the side of the fire.  The man put a hand on Pop’s shoulder and gently shook.

“Pop, wake up.  Pop wake up, its me.”

Slowly, Pop’s eyes began to open.  Through the bloodshot, he could see the shape of a man, and the rising sun behind him.

“Who’s there?”

“Pop, its me.  I got bad news.”  He trailed off, looking out across the valley.

Pop scratched himself.

“Give it to me kid.  How bad??”

“They got Jimmy real good, he ain’t gonna be around for awhile.  Smokey and Andy too, but they’ll be alright.  They’re hiding out right now.”

Pop nodded.

“But Charlie, Pop……Charlie, he, uh…..he ain’t here no more.”

Pop stared.

“Charlie……..he’s gone Pop…….I’m sorry.”   Not knowing what else to say, the man turned his back and looked out across the plains.

Pop stroked his chin.  Suddenly he got up, and walked to the edge of the clearing.  He stared at the grass on the ground.  And turning around, he walked to where the man was now standing.

Pop stared for a moment, and putting his hand on the man’s shoulder, he spoke:

“We both knew this day would come.  They’ve been squeezin us, squeezin us real good, and we’ve been lucky as all Hell up to this point.  But there’s something they can’t take away from us, kid, and we both know what that is: Football.”

The man continued to stare out at the plains.  And turning his head, he looked into the eyes of Pop.

“We gotta go, Pop.”

Together, they went back to the fire to clean up camp and jump on their horses.  There wasn’t much time.  The Riders were on their way.

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