Many years ago, while driving through a rural area of New York state, I espied an old abandoned farmhouse set back a few hundred feet from the road. Since I have always been attracted to things ruined and abandoned, I stopped to take a look.
The house was open to the elements, its doors and windows having been broken some time back. The usual litter of rags, wornout shoes, and such lay here and there in the rooms. I climbed the stairs to find three empty bedrooms and there was even less detritus there. But one bedroom had a spot of color in a corner holding a pile of leaves. I walked over to see what it might be and picked up an old Valentine's Day card. It had the usual boy and girl holding hands drawing on the front with a verse inside that I can't recall.
But what I do remember, as clear as the water in my glass, is the inscription.
In a boy's scrawl, it said: To Kathleen, from the Lone Ranger.
And I felt again the worm of longing that feasts on our starveling hearts
House of Fleas: 1940
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