Posts tagged "rural_life"
Louie’s New Truck

Louie’s New Truck

The tiny Montana town I grew up in had one main intersection where two highways came together at a T-shaped junction. One stop sign told vehicles traveling east to give way to the north and south traffic passing straight through town. On the corner stood Dad’s pharmacy: a two-story, baby blue, eyesore of a building....
On the Near Side of the Tracks

On the Near Side of the Tracks

The house is just this side of disused railroad tracks that stretch diagonally across the suburban street, cutting the property into an awkward slice. The house is close to the street, squat, the side yard brownish. Tree stumps and uneven ground make places where leaves accumulate. The tiny garage hunches down where the back yard...
Foundation

Foundation

“That foundation there,” my father said, pointing as he drove, “was once a little bungalow that belonged to a woman named Betsy Williams.” He slowed so I could see the foundation, the cracked rocks hidden among the wild onion and witchweed. A sycamore grew where the living room had been. We were driving through rolling...
Arkansas Chicken Apocalypse

Arkansas Chicken Apocalypse

I have been to the end of the world. I was fourteen on a fall morning, frost icing the dead grass in the yard, my feet cold on the tile. The phone rang from under dishes and papers on the kitchen table, and I let my mother get it. She answered, said okay, hung up....
One More Eulogy

One More Eulogy

–for Forrest Bartlett (1936-2011) I’d arrived a bit late, and the lot for the church had filled up. So I parked in a spot by the shady lawyer’s office, which was closed on a weekend afternoon. By the time I ran in, the tributes had already started, rough and funny and tender all at once, just...
During the Farm Show Parade

During the Farm Show Parade

In the next town over, early in the parade, the recently acquitted drive their red truck slowly, the Ford F-150 as polished as the fire trucks and the horns of the high school band. From both windows they throw Tootsie Rolls and hard candy wrapped in cellophane to scrambling children, then wave like the mayor...

All the Forces at Work Here

First thing in the morning Willie Murnion turns his welding rig onto our road and comes raising a rooster tail of dust fast down the gravel and bangs on the screen door with his ham of a fist and announces to my mother that he’ll go ahead and fix the basketball hoop. My mother, in...

Teeth

Everything belonged to Russell now. My mother was his wife, I was his son, we lived in his house—an isolated farm we didn’t need and couldn’t afford. Russell had started cutting trees off the property and selling the timber to make the mortgage payments. He was sharpening the teeth of a chainsaw on the front...

Things That Appear Ugly Or Troubling But Upon Closer Inspection Are Beautiful

(after Sei Shonagon) A river in winter with ice floes jammed violently against one another; you can see dark water in between the white and gray floes, sparkling in the sunshine. Abandoned barns, their huge roofs sagging like the backs of tired horses. The slick, black body of a baby goat, stillborn, lying in the...

The Wound

The wound on the horse’s thigh was the size of a discus. Blood ran down his bent leg. It was hard to see in the dark. It was very cold. A stranger had brought the horse over to Teddy’s trailer and said he had been riding that night and had an accident. My brother and...

A Stranger at Dusk

Looking out the window of our front room at dusk that chilly day in the spring of my twelfth year, I saw a tall man weaving toward our front door. I was intrigued not only by his peculiar gait but also by the fact I did not recognize the man.  Strangers were rare in the...

This Is Not To Say

So many feelings fit between two heartbeats So many objects can be held in our two hands Don’t be surprised we can’t describe the world And just address things tenderly by name. -Zbigniew Herbert This was supposed to be about the dirt that flies up in puffs between bare feet when the bees are buzzing...

The Potato Harvest

This is the morning that summer ends. In one hard frost our garden has become an abandoned battlefield, the last vestiges of the living lay stiff and frozen, black wilted zucchini leaves like limp umbrellas stand as pathetic monuments, tattered flags, over what was, only yesterday, a vegetable garden. Potatoes love one heavy frost. It...

Kathy

When I took Kathy to my meet my parents, Dad got out his boarding-school yearbooks. He’d never done such a thing, shown anyone the elegant 1930s volumes—certainly never to one of my girlfriends. I suppose her work as an educator made his sharing of that lost world relevant, but he also was showing a pretty...

Tenderness

Ronnie Thomley banged on our door early one morning. He runs heavy machinery for Willie Thrift, the pond man. He showed up at our place in the pine woods of panhandle Florida driving a compact air-conditioned tractor equipped with a front-loaded rotary cutter.  Ronnie’s boss had sent him over to clear out some of the...