I’m sitting on porch steps with my cousin. We are people-watching in a town about the size of an area rug.
A man is blowing leaves off his driveway. The leaf-blower is filling the neighborhood with noise. They say he’s addicted to yardwork. Poor man.
Miss Elvira is walking her Labrador, Webster, on the sidewalk. The dog is stronger than he looks. The leash looks like it’s about to snap in two. He’s pulling Elvira like Twenty-Mule-Team Borax.
She waves at us. I haven’t seen Miss Elvira since I was nine. My cousin and I picked pinecones in her yard long ago while singing an anthem by the Oak Ridge Boys about her.
Hi-ho, Silver, away.
Peter Stepnowski is poking in his garage. Peter has white hair, thick glasses, and wears tube socks with sandals.
Please Lord, no matter how old I get, don’t let me wear tube socks and sandals.
A delivery truck. A FedEx man jogs the sidewalk, up the steps to the Delanie’s porch. He’s carrying an odd-shaped box that makes every elderly busybody within a six-mile radius become curious.
my aunt, for instance, she is curious.
Four girls walk the sidewalk wearing soccer uniforms. School is out. They have backpacks on shoulders. They’re deep in conversation. Faces serious. They’re solving world problems.
One of the girls is Karin. I remember when her parents announced in Sunday school they were expecting a third baby.
Karin waves. She calls me “Mister Sean.” Those words sound ancient.
Life is moving slow today. That’s how it works in little places.
I was in the big city last week. I rode through five-o’clock traffic, gripping my steering wheel so hard my knuckles popped—I’m lucky I survived.
I watched a transfer truck amputate a Nissan’s side-mirror. I saw two near-accidents, fifteen cop cars, and a whole bucket of middle fingers.
Big places aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.