“Whoa! Harvey. You’re not Babe Ruth and that keyboard isn’t a baseball. What do you think you’re doing?”
After counting to ten slowly, Harvey sighed audibly through puffed-out lips and gently placed the keyboard on the desk in front of the monitor. “I’m out’ta here. Maybe I’ll stumble onto something in town to write about. I’ll see you when I see you.”
“Why don’t you write about that stain you got on your shirt the last time you stormed out? Every shirt-washing wife wants to know how to remove cherry-lime snow cone dribble.”
“Don’t let the door slam. Momma always said you gotta get glad in the same clothes you got mad in.” Hearing no response, Mildred whispered, “Drive carefully, love. I know you’re struggling.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Shadows were stretching fingers across the lawn when Harvey parked his jeep under the carport awning. A tantalizing aroma escaping from the kitchen window announced Mildred was expecting his return. She talked gruff sometimes, but he deserved it; she only had his best interest in mind. A twinge of guilt passed through him as he thought about being away all day and not calling.
For the past three hours he had been sitting on the river bank watching a small plane being hoisted onto a barge. An instructor and trainee student had ditched in the water when the craft’s motor took early retirement. Harvey had seen it all, from sputter to splash down to rescue.
He stepped inside, hat in hand.
“Well, Aristotle, back from your travels? Tell me about your day while I drop these dumplings in the broth.”
“A wasted day, I’m afraid.”
“Oh? It took you long enough to figure that out.”
“I’m lucky I made it back. At the bottom of the hill Old Man Grinner ran that stop sign again. He was hunkered over the steering wheel in that three-fendered truck. He can’t see, even if he didn’t have that grimy hat pulled down almost touching his nose. Old Blue had his head out the passenger window baying loud enough to drown out the rattles.”
“Everyone around here knows to watch for him, so it’s good that you did.”
“I stopped by the post office and ran into Jay and Carson. Those guys just got back from a fishing trip to Mexico. They won’t be doing that again. Some druggies kidnapped Jay to collect a ransom. He managed to leap out of their truck and elude them. They caught the next flight home.”
“Oh, wow. How could those guys be so stupid?”
“Well, they might as well have paid the ransom and kept fishing. Ann and Cynthia decided that same money could go for a shopping trip and they are off to the big city tomorrow.”
“And they didn’t call me? I’m scratching them from my friends list.”
“When I passed the Little League Field there were a lot of parked cars. A play-off game was about to start so I decided to watch it. Did you hear about that one-arm boy that’s a pitcher? Well, let me tell you – that kid is the real deal. He’ll be in the pros some day, I’ll betcha.”
“Hand me that platter, Harvey, for the roast chicken. We’re almost ready. Get the salad out of the fridge, too.”
“After the game I went by the church to see what was going on. The C A’s were having a noon meal with a guest speaker and they invited me to stay.”
“C A’s – the chronologically advantaged. They resent being called senior citizens.”
“Who was the speaker?”
“Lou Brown. He must be in his eighties. His theme scripture was ‘A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.’
Harvey laughed, remembering. “When he was in high school he dated a girl named Charlotte. Standing on her front porch after a date, he always unscrewed the light bulb, leaned back, and prayed: ‘Father, Father up above, should I kiss the girl I love?’ And the answer always came, ‘Sinner, Sinner down below, pucker up and let her go.’”
“That’s good advice, Harvey. Give me a kiss and let’s eat. You had a great day.”
“Well, I just wish this town wasn’t so dead. I couldn’t find anything to write about.”
“Say, what? Don’t tell me you skipped the snow cone stan--- Harvey, are you wearing a new shirt?”
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