It doesn't seem like so long ago when I was young and my dad was in business for himself as a house painter and Marmaduke came over every so often to visit us. I always looked forward to seeing Marmaduke. He was a college guy and he had big plans and he always handed me one of those match sticks that was made of cardboard and asked me to split it with my thumb nail. Then he'd tell me to take each side between my fingers and hold the thing out in front of me. Then he'd tell me to say 'Vroom' 'Vroom' and when I did he said, "Hey, what have you got there, a motorcycle?"
He did it every time he came over and I guess it was a little bit silly, especially looking back at it now, but I admired him so much I didn't care.
Marmaduke always had a story to tell and of course I don't remember most of them now. He really liked my dad and they hit it off well in spite of the difference in their ages, just as I hit it off with him in spite of the age difference between us. Maybe Marmaduke just hit it off well with everyone, I don't know.
One time Marmaduke came over with a record album to play for my dad. It was one of the first albums by Bob Dylan - I don't remember which one. I listened in and I could tell my dad didn't really get it about Bob Dylan but I did. After a while my friends were listening to Bob Dylan and they didn't really get it either. I tried to explain it to them but they still didn't get it. Then after some more time went by everyone was listening to Bob Dylan and they really got it about him. I think I must have been one of the first people to get it about Bob Dylan and that was because of Marmaduke.
Another time he came over he had a roll of paper under his arm and it was plans for an amusement park once he rolled it out, all laid out like it was ready to be built. It was a project he had done for a college class but then he started to take it seriously and thought that he might actually build it and he'd make a bundle of money. He asked my dad if he'd like to invest some money in it but my dad just shook his head sadly and shrugged his shoulders and showed the palms of his hands.
"Sorry, buddy, I can't do it. I've got kids to raise."
I don't know if the amusement park ever got built. I don't remember there ever being a new park being built around that part of Southwest Michigan. Probably not. That's how things go, really. There are a lot more 'probably nots' than there are 'probablies' in the world. As least that was true where I came from.
Anyway, I ran into Marmaduke years later and he didn't mention the amusement park or anything like it. He worked in a record store as I recall. He still like Bob Dylan but there was a lot of other music he liked too. That was after my dad lost his business and went out to Arizona to live in a school bus.
After we had gotten past our greetings and smiles and back slapping and answering, "Say, where is your old man anyway?" and "How is he doing?" Marmaduke said, "I've got a story to tell you, Jim." And he proceeded to tell me about this man he knew - Daniel Allman - who met a woman who believed she was an angel. "Honest to God," he said. "They traveled around together and I'm not lyin' he said they were being chased around Europe by a huge anti-angel. An anti-angel is one that comes from hell according to Daniel. And their job is to catch or kill the good angels."
And the more he told me the story of this Daniel Allman and the girl, Sarah, the more I knew I had to write it all out and that is the story that is 'The Angelic Mysteries' that is coming out August 18th this year.
I don't know whatever happened to Marmaduke after that. I never saw him again. I do know what happened to my dad and all the rest of it. But I guess that will have to wait for another time.
Copyright 2011 by James D. Sanderson All Rights Reserved.