Monday, November 3, 2008

Not Knitting on Halloween

I could have been knitting for hours on Halloween, as I basked in the sun at EXtra Mart in Greene, NY. But there was too much activity at the gas station, and too much sun, too much sadness, and too much peacefulness, as I waited for Carl Wrench to come to my rescue.

I had been driving for forty minutes, leaving Ithaca for Massachusetts, deep in thought, as I’ve been all week, for the untimely death of a young cousin; when I hit a football-sized boulder-- “BAMMM. . . . DAMN” -- and wended a mile down the hill to Greene’s corner gas station. I had not cried yet for this death, but wept then, deflected tears, at the blow out; which was just a blow out, but was just too much, just then. Just for a moment.

Then I let go of the annoyance, the delay, the inconvenience, and absorbed the sunny wait. While I waited, the price of gas in Greene went from $2.94 to $2.87. A mother and son in the Freihoffer’s Cookie truck overfilled their tank, so Greene’s Gus had to spread absorbent sand and sweep it up. I greeted a guy in an orange sweatshirt, the perfect match to my orange fleece: “We’re the great pumpkins.” He had no reaction; maybe didn’t like being called “great.” Three people told me I had a flat tire. And Carl Wrench was too busy over in town doing end-of-the-month car inspections (“they always wait till the last moment”), to come before noon. But there was lots of sun, and an Old Codger.

After his ancient Ford pickup stopped at the pump next to my car, he descended from the driver’s seat, preceded by a cane; he descended so slowly that the price of gas went down another nine cents, to $2.78. If he could see at all, he had time to see every thing below knee level before his bowed legs got out of the pumping bays. And one tire caught his eye. To the tire itself and to no one in particular, he spit and affirmed: “The bottom of that tire is flat.”

Well, that did it for me: joy in the gruff ongoing of this ancient woodsman, delight in the image that I might drive on the other parts of the tire. I loved that dirty Methuselah, that coffin dodger, that cunning fellow, whose wispy gray beard highlighted his toothless mouth, whose legs were as stiff as the jeans overalls he’d been wearing since May:

“Yup,” I replied, “the bottom of that tire is way flat.”

And I just kept basking, until Mr. Wrench helped me on my way.

On my way to Halloween with my son, my d-i-l, my grand daughters, aka Flying Turtle and Butterfly/Fairy.

On my way to seeing dancing girls in some of the sweaters I’d recently knit .

1 comment:

Connie said...

your granddaughters are adorable in the sweaters you knit them. that story you tell about your wait for a new tire is great. it's obvious you're an english professor ;)

I'm so sorry about your cousin.