One of first settlers of Hur, Long-Gone Reason Kerby, returns on certain quarter moon nights to the mossy rock at the head of Salvation Hollow to be heard by innocent Billy Goodheart.

By Bob Weaver

BILLY: Uncle Reason, I'm so confused about which side I should be on.

UNCLE REASON: Billy, son, please listen to me closely. For a brief and shining moment let us rise above sides, parties, causes or interests and consider what is going on down there.

BILLY: Yes, but everyone wants to know what side I'm on.

UNCLE REASON: The biggest problem is how politicians and people fight their battles, and they always always for a "just cause," at least that's what the Big Man says. Battles have often been fought about who would be King, and most certainly whose getting the gold. Most wars have been fought over it, and would you believe, religion too.

BILLY: Mean and nasty, right?

UNCLE REASON: Yes, it is more than mean-spirited. It is riddled with hate-mongering, name-calling and personal destruction, beyond the pale of discord and disagreement- CONTROL. I recall hundreds of situations in history turning to violence and destruction, or at the very least the building of grudges that have lasted hundreds of years, if not thousands.

BILLY: Why does it work? People shouldn't do that.

UNCLES REASON: It seeks to divide, turning neighbor against neighbor, often using propaganda techniques where the truth is mixed with some truths, half-truths and lies, and then even bigger lies. The messages are destructively simple. They are repeated often and made to burn. Some people love it.

BILLY: The lies are even bigger and what happened to civility?

UNCLE REASON: The world learned from Adolph Hitler, the BIG LIE should have been impossible to believe, but it was so outrageous that people believed it. Your new high tech social media and the coming of AI has made it worse, where people are their vocal accusers, writers and publishers. Conspiracy theories rule while entertaining ourselves to death.

People live their lifetime somewhat satisfied with their divided anger and fear, evil and corroding through everyday life to be further displayed under the banner of the good guys. Little is accomplished. The sense of community, respect and purpose become practically nonexistent, more often replaced by oppression, hopelessness and helplessness.

America has always been on wobbly legs, and the Americian experiment could now go down the tubes, left to totalitarian leaders.

BILLY: But why haven't we learned those lessons? It seems like politicians who make the most vulgar noise seem to win.

UNCLE REASON: You would think so, Billy. You would think so. Well, it may be up to you Billy to restore some peace and purpose to your most beautiful land. The Big Man has always said it is the likes of you who will lead the bungling out of the darkness.

BILLY: But, how?

UNCLE REASON: Keep writing in your spiral notebook, keep asking questions and keep the faith. I must go now. Going to have lunch with ole Senator Mathews, Pete Hicks and some of the Hamilton bunch. We meet twice a week to review our mistakes and ask forgiveness from each other.

The Big Man likes that, you know. Even Wayne Underwood comes over and talks about his bad plays and Phillip Starcher talks about weasel politicians from the early days. Once in a while the Big Man drops over. Usually goes on and on about the Seven Deadly Sins. Oh, yes, I forget about that old Confederate renegade Daniel Duskey. He can tell a tale or two.

Well, I gotta go now.

BILLY: Please don't go yet, Uncle Reason.

UNCLE REASON: Well, I must. Just stick around a while on the mossy rock and some of this might make sense. You'll feel better. Keep looking up, dear Billy, and believe in a power greater. Remember the Big Man likes those Beatitudes. Don't hear much of them in those big churches these days. Good night.

Uncle Reason's frail but radiant presence slowly drifted down Salvation Hollow into the fog of Barnes Run. A forgiven man, carrying with him the wisdom of the ages - the mistakes and failures of all humankind ...