by George Thomas
Beside a quiet road on a stifling August morning. Some arbitrarily named road that split the bane of my upbringing down the middle.
To my left, a cornfield, eaten up by quasi urban development perpetually for lease. A narrow plaza with a Southwestern façade meant to imitate adobe — a misrepresentation of the landscape but anything to make it feel like we-were-anywhere-else-just-not-here. And a self-storage facility, warehouse of dead relatives’ chinaware and unwanted lampshades, hidden because of the memories.
To my right, a cluster of indistinguishable houses. A cookie-cutter subdivision, the kind with names reminiscent of Minnesotan lakes and what New England must look like come October. Never been, but they were the sorts of places I’d always hear about.
I drove all the way back to tear an ear of corn off a fledgling stalk. I peeled the husk like a banana and took a bite out of it. Counting 24 chews before my eyes watered, I spat it out, got in my car, and left.
It tasted awful, but I was desperate to not forget where I really came from.
I would have never known that you didn’t know the difference between field corn and sweet corn. If you longed for a reminder of home, a stop at a Glasscock’s wagon and a dozen ears of some of the best sweet corn in the world would have made you happier. If you needed to despise your origins, a whiff of the Mobil refinery would have sufficed. Otherwise, well written. Keep ’em coming.
My ma always took me to the Glasscock’s wagon when I was a kid. They’d set up shop in a vacant gas station on State Street, in Lockport. I used to think it was so cool to pick vegetables outside like it were a garden, even if it was just a weedy parking lot.
Thanks for rekindling the memory, Larry. The little things can drive us nuts, but some little things make the past one-of-a-kind. Like that Hoosier stone you told me about. It can be worth returning to from time to time.