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In the third grade I learned what it meant. Intrigued, I began to notice all the stuff for sale in our town. I pictured hordes of cargo planes filling the skies, as they traversed oceans, east to west and back again, to deposit crates full of the new three-in-one tool, and silicone spatulas onto loading docks. Smith’s Cash and Carry up the street would do well to have some of these.

I imagined freight trains too, that crisscrossed the countryside on their delivery routes, and blew through small towns like Watervliet, Malvern and even Marble Falls.  Powerful engines rattled storefront windows, as well as the folks standing in front of the soda shop. They could barely hear one another because of the thunderous din, so were left having to mouth parts of their conversations.

Many a steamy summer evening, the “old folks,” as my great aunt and uncle called themselves and their friends, would gather for poker and beer around the card table on the screened porch. There was lots of activity at the table, and to avoid spills, the tall glasses were placed on the floor next to each chair. My brother and I decided this situation provided an opportunity to start our new service business, giving refills frequently, before anyone had to ask. At the end of the evening, and again first thing in the morning, just to make sure, we totaled up the take from our first commercial enterprise. Charging five cents per pour, no matter how little or how big, the take came to sixty-five cents. 


wnc poetry

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