Posted by: normanlgreen | October 1, 2011

Dream, October 1, 2011 hiding from heat

Dream, home, 3:05 am

A pack of young people has come under my guidance as we all visit a central Texas town. They are to see the sights, the cultural aspects of this flat and sprawling town, while keeping safe in the urban environment. I am concerned that everyone is fed and hydrated – none of us are accustomed to the heat.

On our way to a little old taco stand, we pass through a sporting goods store. This place is air-conditioned and no one seems in a hurry to leave it. As an experience, it is not unlike any store of its type in the hometown of these kids, so I am less interested in lingering. Passing through the shoe department, I spot Sue, a woman who cares for my old gentleman friend, Charlie.  She sits on one of those stools that shoe clerks used to use to help you try on different shoes – an angled board with traction rubber extends toward the customer so the clerk can brace the customer’s foot while tightening and tieing the laces. But Sue is not employed here.  She also rests from the heat, watching a television above and behind my head. She wears her hair in white poodle curls and has a toy poodle – also white – on a thin red leash. The dog sits patiently, as the woman stares into the screen. Other loiterers watch from rows of seats.  No one shops — no staff is visible.

Beyond the shoe area, on the diagonal, a wall of drink coolers with lighted, brand-name signs pulls me toward them. One has no choice but soda pop – not even the mineral infused sports drinks. I walk away and cross paths with my brother, Stephen, who sips a fountain drink. I tell him that we will take the kids to a restaurant and get them something better than a cola. He offers me a sip from his straw. It tastes like the dispensing fountain has all of its lines crossed, so the cup holds sugared Dr. Pepper, Diet Coke (dominating), Mountain Dew, Orange Crush, in a bitter hodge-podge.*

I climb a few stairs, pass some clothing racks, and step out through a glass door and onto a raised sidewalk above the street. The late afternoon sky beats me back with a haze of orange and blue. Looking out, I see the terrain becomes more generic, suburban, retail in this direction, but I am aware that behind us, walking the other direction, the city gets more interesting, but also more dicey, less safe for the kids we have in our charge.  I do not see the taco stand that we had as a goal and resolve to lead the kids back into the dusty and poor part of town that will be unlike what they have known at home.

* In the early 1970’s Stephen and I worked as kids in our Nana’s “Coffee Corner” in St. Albert, Alberta.  We would take the thick-walled, amber plastic cups and put squirts of every flavor from the Pepsi dispenser – this concoction was call a “graveyard”. The notion was to make it as unpleasant a mix as possible, yet pretend to enjoy drinking the mess.


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