The Peach Stand

Sweat puddles and drips down to her seven-year-old feet

like the ice cream will soon do.

A sweltering Texas summer.

Grandpa grins through his cigar, proud of his summer income.

Peaches in boxes and sacks.

Peaches in crates

lined up on tables beneath his covered stand.

A pocketknife cuts off a slice of sweet fruit

and extends toward a willing customer.

Grandpa smiles again, pleased with the satisfaction on the consumer’s juiced face.

The ancient Black man, mouth empty of teeth, dismounts his horse.

Grandpa readies a fresh peach. “Afternoon, Washington.”

Washington nods, mumbles, shows his gums.

Grandpa adds another peach to his hand. “Take these for your ride to town.”

The man smacks his curved-in lips together,

up and down, up and down,

a toothless man’s “thank you.”

The walk-in cooler an instant relief.

But the bushels of peaches offer no jokes,

no grins,

no Grandpa conversations.

Outside, parched again, she accepts the quarter and returns Grandpa’s smile.

A short walk toward the small diner.

The lady in a pink uniform and matching hat says, “Vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry?”

“Strawberry.”

The ice cream, scooped. The cone, topped with a pink, cold delight.

Fifty steps back to the peach stand.

Fifty steps back to Grandpa.

The ice cream drips and threatens to disappear.

But the heat is no match for Grandpa’s disposition.

His smile and character remains solid, strong, and real.

Un-meltable.

Peach stand

(photo of Grandpa taken in the early sixties)

 

 

 

 

Published by

Carolyn Dennis-Willingham

Carolyn is the author of two published books – No Hill for a Stepper, 2001, and The Last Bordello, 2016. Her third novel, The Moonshine Thicket, is set in 1928 and is currently enduring a professional edit. When not on her laptop, she serves as a lap top for her grandchildren. She is a retired Early Childhood Specialist, a fitness boxer, artist, and a ball thrower for her ever-persistent mini Aussie. In addition to her blogging website, carolyndenniswillingham.com, you may find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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