Come over here and sit a spell.
I am an old cantankerous man. Lived here in this poke and plumb town all my life. Now don’t go wrinkling your brow, you know what that is. If you take the time to poke your head out the car window to get a real good look at this town, you will plumb miss it. I am set in my ways and can be judgmental. At the ripe age of eighty-eight I have the right to be critical others, but I learned a lesson the other day.
I was sitting right here on this hard bench beside the general store door. If you sit here long make sure you bring a soft pillow. If you lived as long as me you don’t have much padding.
Anyway…I was outside the general store, a throw back to the eighteen hundreds. The floors are board planks nailed down with wooden pegs; the aisles are narrow and cramped. The owner meets every customer with a smile and an offer of advice. She better, I raised her that way. Have you meet Rebecca, my granddaughter? After our chat go on in and say hi. She is single, and you look promising stranger.
Now where was I, oh yes, the hard bench. As I sat here, down the street strutted a young lad clad in leather. I noticed his hair hung long in the back, but the top was chopped short and stuck straight out like quills on a porcupine. I shot a porcupine once, but that is another story. I know my eyes are not like they once were, but this boy had a chain that connected from his ear to his nose and then disappeared down his shirt. I don’t want to know where it went. His looks alone told me he belonged to the Duryee family.
A great, upstanding family, I knew his granddaddy. He worked at the steel... wait I am veering off course again.
That young man looked like trouble. The young lady on his arm looked no better with her lip pierced. Plus her clothes left nothing to imagine. There was purple and pink stripes of color dyed into her hair. I do believe she had more make up than skin on her face.
At the exact same time in the opposite direction came the Martin boy wearing his varsity football jacket, a clean cut kid. His hair was close cropped and no chains dangled from his face. The young lady walking beside him wore those short pants I been seeing lately, a modest getup. She had pulled her hair back into a long pony tail, and if she wore make-up I didn’t notice it.
These two forces of dark and light, bad and good, reached the door of the general store at the precise time Widow Dice started her dangerous journey down the front step. Mrs. Dice is a stubborn old cuss like me. Out back of the General Store I made this ramp. I made it from…well I’ll explain later.
Let’s get back to Widow Dice. I turned my attention towards Martin. I thought he would help her, but he sneered and his gal shuddered at seeing the Widow’s bent stature.
By now I thought I would have to rise to my creaky bones to help Mrs. Dice. Before I attempted to move, Duryee had plucked the widow up and set her gently on the sidewalk. One of her grocery bags caught on a metal stud protruding from his pants and ripped open, spilling fresh fruit all over.
In my day we had baskets or paper bags, much better than plastic. By the way, do you want an apple, we sell the freshest ones? Oh, you want to hear the rest of the story.
Duryee’s gal, trying hard to remain modest, squatted down to retrieve the escaping apples. Martin kicked them away from her and made a snide comment I refuse to repeat. That rude couple left holding each other up as they rolled from laughter.
I stared after them until I heard Duryee say to his young miss. “Sue, run in and buy everyone ice cream,” He pulled out a pocket full of crumpled dollars and loose change. “I will find a ride home for Mrs. Dice.”
As I waited for my ice cream I slide over to make room on my bench and even offered my pillow to the Widow.
Now stranger, can you tell me what I learned?
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