do you know how far it is

November 27, 2016


you want to give her your navigator…. because she doesn’t own one. she has two dogs. Two. One has a yellow sweater …and the other is a little black chihuahua shivering in the truck — she told me she couldn’t find his little sweater…pobrecita.

way out here in the middle of west texas. we stopped . balmorhea. kent. vanhorn.

i  am so not sure why i even remember this. I don’t know why it’s even important. maybe its because there is this one important thing you must do with your life and then you don’t do it…or maybe its because she said to me, “… my people have animals … that is why I have animals… goats and chickens. That is why I have to get back, she said.  I need to get back and take care of my animals.   Do you know how far it is to Abilene? she said.   Abilene.  her face heavily lined — in an old truck from Buckeye school district — an old truck she bought on her own …  this one woman traveling alone across the great state of texas….

she bought that land. she bought three acres. way out in Abilene — far away from anyone else. So she could have animals…. animals the way her family does….

I don’t know why she told me that. a total stranger at a light blue crappy motel 6 near a luvs-cargo truckstop. i still don’t know why i remember her so clearly and it all seems so important.

Abilene.  San Angelo. Junction.

here to home. home to here.  i am obsessed with distance.

I need to get back and take care of my animals.  she said.

the gift

September 12, 2011

its labor day… working people have come in our store for their BBQ ribs and sodas for an afternoon of family barbeque. I watched someone write out a check today…. its funny because I see hundreds of checks a month. but she wrote it out… date first… signed it… wrote in the numerical amount 36.40 leaving the hand written numbers for last… i thought that was odd… I watched her carefully turn to the front page of her checks to a very worn page. bent cornered…in large numbers she had written each amount out:
20 30 40 50 then next to it she wrote in oversized letters how to write each of the numbers — TWENTY, THIRTY, FORTY, FIFTY…. CENTS. I was in awe.

what if I could not write? what if I had lived in that different world… so far away from my insulated middle class america world. I wondered where i would be now.. where would I be now… and would I have had the courage to persevere?

I watched how carefully she wrote each of the letters looking back each time to write the letters in the right order.

It was then I realized how easily and carelessly I write each day…. taking forgranted my life … and what a gift it is to have an education, read and write. how easy my life is.
a gift.

god bless texas.

from my billfold I glance up… my tiny car seems so insignificant, anonymous…almost invisible.

on pump No. 4 I see a tall white truck with 7 foot Texas longhorns strapped to a wrap around deer guard. behind the wheel is a tall Cowboyhat Man. He gets out, walks across the black asphalt parkinglot, slides through the Quickstop double doors to the front register in his Lee jeans.

At gaspump No. 5, a Lowrider pulls in. Sleek, deep black… with an immaculate airbrush ghost of the sons and daughters of revolution painted on each side…. the Lowrider inches forward, pumps up and down, pumps up and down on its magnificent hydrawlics. Our cash register boys can’t even concentrate long enough to make change to Cowboyhat Man as they stare in awe, faces pressed up closely against the window talking to each other excitedly.

I grip my billfold tightly. Wonder aloud where I am…. then this seattle girl moves carefully to the passenger side…. ducking down to let moBoy drive. It is only three blocks past DelRio street…. the trees surrounding us with black birds.

life is in a box

July 6, 2010

“…Did we ever find a plate,” MoBoy asks?
“Uh uh.. why do you need a plate?” I reply.
” …Yes, my life would be complete with a plate,” he responds,
“As it is, I am swimming in a sea of platelessness…”
Its in a box…” I reply…

my life.. your life its in that cardboard box…