when chance casts happenstance

Everyone but Jaybird died
the night his family’s plane
crashed into the hill bordering
his grandfather’s cattle ranch.
Jaybird woke in a hospital bed,
and the first two words he heard?
“Bad Luck.”
His mom, his dad,
and all three siblings.

Later in rehab, he overheard a nurse say
“This one was born with bad luck.”
Doctors incubated Jaybird his first three weeks of life,
tiny and alone.

Here he was not so tiny,
still alone,
learning to walk again,
as bad luck spread ripples through his thoughts.

Now this story could turn dark,
but it won’t.

60 years later

Jaybird’s family ranch,
run by his daughter,
faces South hill.

50 years back, he changed his luck.
He met a woman who told him
that luck was just chance casting happenstance.
“Perseverance and compassion,”
she said, “that’s all you need,
perseverance and compassion.”

He persevered, they married.

Today he sits on the front porch
looking out at South hill.
His daughter comes up behind him,
slips her arms around his chest,
and says, “I miss mom, Daddy. You
must miss a lot.” She looks up at the
hill. Jaybird reaches up and brushes
his daughter’s cheek, silent.
“Tell me again, why you named me
Dad, that story heals me.”

“Ah, one of my favorites,”
He pats his wife’s chair beside him
as he begins, “Luck Happenstance Smith,”
he pauses to ruffle her hair. “Well Smith
comes from my grandpa, and his before that,”
Jaybird chuckles as Luck settles in by his side.

Brenda Warren 2013


Process Notes:
Miz Quickly prompted us to write about luck. My piece today is loosely based on a true story.

8 thoughts on “when chance casts happenstance

  1. Awe… I liked every word. Reminds me of that country western song where (I think the city boy is named Dallas and the Midwestern gal is named Brooklyn – they met in an airport…and eventually give their little girl a ‘normal’ name.

    Thanks for your visit.


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