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 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?”
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.
(photo of Grandpa taken in the early sixties)