Notes At Pump 9


One Saturday when my brother could lend me his help and his pick-up bed, I finally brought home the three-seater swing complete with awning in a color scheme I could live with (no large patterns with flowers or leaves), that I’d purchased weeks ago at a summer clearance price. Already assembled as a demo/floor model, the store was holding it in back until I could pick it up.
Black clouds rolled above the open bed of Jim’s rusted little truck as we headed for the gas station. Located at a busy intersection, his usual place to fill up was hopping with activity. As we pulled beside the row of pumps close to the convenience store, Jim stepped out to our pump and I looked across to the row of pumps closer to the road where a bright green car on a trailer captured my attention. Covered with splatters and slogans that assured its demolition derby destiny, I also noticed seasonings of experience and survival.
The front fender of the car asked, “Got Green?”, and the Grabber Green Derby Team, sporting green t-shirts with the name, were busy fueling the matching green pick-up that pulled their car trailer. With car and clothes coordinated, it appeared that they truly had their act together. lt brought back memories of the demo derbys I’d watched at the county fair that, to my surprise, I’d enjoyed more than I’d ever expected.
Thunder rumbled in the distance as rain suddenly pelted our windshield. Jim dashed inside to pay, and I rolled up the truck windows. A motorcycle buzzed around us to find a parking spot under the shelter of the canopy over the gas pumps, and a man in a red Harley t-shirt hopped off his bike, opened a black vinyl compartment, and unrolled a plastic charcoal vinyl slicker.
Our cab quickly turned sweating hot with the windows closed, and I swallowed, thirstily looking at a sign that said “Gatorade – $1.29”. A jeep bounced up over a curb as it passed extra close to my side of the truck, and we decided we weren’t over far enough to let traffic around us. My brother voiced a “sorry, buddy” apology toward the jeep driver’s ears – too far away and too much in a hurry to ever hear.
While Jim settled back into the truck, we exchanged thoughts about the convenience store syndrome that seems to prevail and pondered how these places continue to sell their pricey items. We chalked it up to America’s impatience. We’re all willing to pay more than we need to, at one time or another in order to “have it now”.
Since the brief shower passed, heat and humidity hovered close. As we rolled back out on the highway and unrolled our windows for some moving air, I glanced back at a sign that read, ” Don’t forget the ice!”

Thank you, thank you!

A few weeks ago, I opened a small, brown envelope from my mail basket at Farm and Dairy and found,to my delight, an origami book with a note saying something like “Read your column; thought you might enjoy this!”
You were so right! It’s a wonderful little book, probably a better collection in itself than any other I have. Whoever sent it, please identify yourself. My only clue was a Lisbon postmark; and I’d like to thank you personally.


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