Friday, June 8, 2007

Forty Days

We are sitting in the laundry room of a campground in Indiana. Brother and sister and brother and sister, teenagers all. We are playing cards and comparing notes regarding things such as the music being played on Chicago top 40 radio stations vs. music played on Dallas top 40 radio stations. Most of it is the same but in these pre MTV days, the kids from Chicago have never heard of ZZ Top.

The sisters are older than the brothers. She is telling unfathomable stories about cutting class on a regular basis to stay home from school and spend the day with her boyfriend. It is equally unfathomable to her when I tell her that she would never get away with that kind of behavior in a northeast Texas town of 500 souls. Everybody knows everything that everybody else does. If you skipped school a whole day and your boyfriend did so at the same time, shot guns would likely come out and there just might be a weddin’. At the very least, the girl's reputation would be ruined for life and her whole family might have to leave town.

Geezer comes walking by. “Card playing is bad business,” he says. “You are all going to come to no good end if you don’t cut that out.”

We look at each other for half a second. Is he for real or is he joking with us? We can’t control the giggling fit that overcomes us.

It is raining like stink outside and the roof develops a leak that begins to drip onto our table. We quickly gather our cards and move to a booth to resume our game. In no time, the table we left is completely wet.

Geezer walks back in. “Forty days it rained. Forty nights it rained…and rained and rained, and rained…” he says as he sits down, puts his postcards on the waterlogged table and begins to write, seemingly unaware of its condition.

We lose it.

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