The summer of my discontent…

was spent at “the store.”

The Store was in the middle of Nowhere.  We lived there, but we didn’t Live there.

Traffic flew by, going East to West, West to East while visitors to The Store wanted to know why there were fences,

“Wasn’t this Open Range?”

“Don’t you ride a horse to school?”

Pull into the drive and up to the pumps.  Fill ‘er up little one, who could never stop the gas on the right amount of money.  So, reduced to dusting the merchandise, paid in Taiwan junk.

While dad takes the long stick and dips it in the huge tanks to see if we have enough gas for all of the travelers.  Come in and eat, please buy a Kansas treat.

Those travelers, who he will let stay in the lot for free, waking me because they slam the dryer button, not knowing I’m inches away behind the cinder block.

Everyone safer with them on the lot and us inside.

Sneak out behind the counter for breakfast of pecan pancakes and chocolate milk, before getting ready to bus the tables.  Vacuum the floor.  Talk to the families who also work The Store to help make ends meet on the family farm.  They married young, with hair the color of the wheat.  Working hard, here and there.

Sneak back to the kitchen after closing at night.  Take the frozen coleslaw, tangy and cold.  The only cold thing in a Plains summer.

And as the evening would come down, and the darkness began, we took to the highway.

to be at the gas station where my brother worked, for closing time.  Into the busy town, pulling in at dusk.  Sitting to the side, watching people fill up.

“Why do we sit here?”

“So that he won’t get robbed.”

“We can’t do anything if some one decides to rob the place.”

“They see us night after night and they go elsewhere.”

And with the money safe in the bank, we head out of the city, back to The Store.  With people sleeping in the lot.  The coleslaw in the freezer.

To finish one long summer in 1971.

In the middle of Nowhere that people called Paxico.

join Emily's imperfect prose

Published in: on August 14, 2010 at 7:11 am  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Beautifully done..liked your writing..and sharing nostalgia..

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