The Flint Riggins Story, Pt. 1


snow shoveling

Hi! I’m sorry my blog is late getting out this week. Life just gets in the way doesn’t it? I received so much positive feedback from the Cammie Orton series I decided to do it again. So, here we go! I hope you enjoy it.

Mary Ann

The Story of Flint Riggins

Part 1

Flint Riggins was a friend of a friend of a friend of mine. I never really wanted to get to know the guy, but as it turned out, I had no choice. Destiny is a curious thing. Total confusion along the way and then suddenly, there you are, face to face with it. I’ll never know how it all came about. Just that it did and sometimes that has to be good enough. Acceptance I guess: simple acceptance.

It was 1998 when I first met him. He had a dog named Vern. I’ll never forget how hard I laughed over a dog named Vern. I mean seriously, can’t you just hear it. “Vernon!”  Flint would holler. “Vern you come on now.” I’m not the only one who cracked up over that name.

The dog lived to obey. His adoration for his master was evident in his very being. Flint rescued Vern off the streets when he was a puppy with one eye missing. The empty socket was infected oozing mucus and blood. Flint hadn’t a nickel to his name but managed to talk a veterinarian into treating the poor little guy and he’d been indebted to Flint ever since.

I’d been told Vern was the only thing Flint had in life, at least that anyone ever knew of. He lived in two places: his wreck of a VW Van, and the tent he pitched next to it parked at the far end of the old campground. His spot was mostly hidden behind trees and major overgrowth just as the management intended. They let him stay because he had nowhere else to go and he never caused any trouble.

Apparently, Flint had had some trouble in his past, trouble enough to land him in our neighborhood campground on the lake. He fished a lot and caught trout year round. The winters were tough though. Northern Idaho gets darned cold with plenty of snow. I’d hear about one person or another putting him up for a while, until the bitter cold lifted. Flint never imposed for long and offered to help with provisions by fishing and doing handyman jobs wherever he stayed.

Vern went with him of course; a little one-eyed black dog with white paws and a white tip on his tail. He also had a white patch over the good eye which left the other in the dark, in more ways than one.

The first time I met Flint and Vern was at a friend’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. Snow had been dumping on us like white on rice and no one was going anywhere.

“This is my friend, Flint.” Norma smiled warmly. “I’ve told you about him?” she stated a question. I smiled and shook his hand. It was rough and dry which certainly beat the alternative. “Hello, Flint,” I said. “It’s good to meet you.” He held my attention with his piercing gray eyes, shook my hand and nodded without a smile. It made me uncomfortable and I politely yet deliberately pulled back my hand as he continued to stare. To my relief, Vern bound into the room to investigate the new person in the house.  I patted his sweet head and crooned at the darling dog. Norma introduced Vern and I laughed at his name. That’s when Flint finally grinned ever so slightly, dropping his steely gaze. I felt myself let go of the tension I didn’t realize I was holding onto. The guy gave me the creeps.

To Be Continued

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